Adoption is the process of legally establishing a lifelong relationship between adoptive parents and adoptee(s). For most, it is a joyful process by which families can grow. Unfortunately, adoption can be complicated. A good adoption lawyer can mitigate those complications and facilitate a successful adoption with minimal inconvenience for the families in question.
The Adoption Process
Strict laws and regulations on both federal and state levels are in place during the entire adoption process. The exact process and the cost of an adoption vary based on a lot of factors, including, but not limited to, whether an adoption agency or foster agency is used, whether the adoption is international or domestic, and if the parties involved are represented by legal counsel.
Types of Adoption
The most common adoptions involve one entity, a family or individual, taking legal custody of a child or adolescent. There are, however, many other types of adoption:
- International adoptions usually involve the adoption of a child who is not a United States citizen. Because such adoptees are typically coming from countries outside of the United States, the adoption laws of both countries must be adhered to. This invariably makes the matter more complicated and expensive.
- Stepparent adoptions involve a stepparent adopting his or her stepchild. This arrangement identifies the stepparent as a legal parent of the child and expects the stepparent to take on parental responsibilities.
- Grandparent adoptions involve at least one grandparent adopting one of their grandchildren. This may be necessary in cases where parents are not capable of raising the child. An adoption allows the grandparent to make legal decisions on behalf of the child being adopted.
- Adults can be adopted as well, and sometimes circumstances present themselves which make this a sensible choice. Usually these cases are as simple as obtaining consent from the person to be adopted.
The Role of an Adoption Lawyer
Adoption lawyers specialize in family law and adoption law, and many adoption lawyers have even more refined specialties, such as working with stepparent or independent adoptions. An adoption attorney helps to streamline the process, thoroughly deciphering the laws and regulations that apply and helping the parties understand what is legally required of them.
Adoption lawyers will also work to obtain consent from both biological parents and sometimes of the person being adopted, file a court petition, and an adoption hearing. While many worry about the cost of hiring an adoption attorney, doing so can minimize the financial and emotional cost of an adoption not processed correctly. At Stevenson Smith Hood Knudson, P.C., we offer legal help in the adoption process in a way that is not cost-prohibitive. Our goal is to help you in your efforts to strengthen your family.
Adoption Attorneys vs. Adoption Agencies
In some states, going through an adoption agency may be required. These organizations have staff dedicated to seeking out candidates looking to adopt and vetting them, and working with an agency generally makes an adoption more secure.
Ideally, an adoption attorney manages the complicated legal aspects of an adoption so your family only has to worry about the adjustments that surround adding a new member. If you work with an adoption agency, an adoption lawyer works supplementarily to the agency to smooth the process.