Whether it is a single parent or a couple, reaching the decision to adopt a child is without a doubt one of the biggest decisions that will ever be made. But upon doing so, there will be numerous requirements that must be met along the way. Because of this, it is crucial that future parents work closely with attorneys who are experienced and knowledgeable regarding adoption law. If you have decided to undertake this process and need information on how the adoption process works and what to expect along the way, here is some vital information to keep in mind.
Why Adoption Takes Place
When a child is adopted, it often happens for one of several reasons. The most common include when a child’s birth parents cannot or choose not to keep and care for the child, when a birth parent is deceased, or when a couple marries and the spouse of the birth parent wants to obtain legal parental rights. When this occurs, an adoption can be handled through various means. In most situations, parents wishing to adopt a child do so by working with an adoption agency that will coordinate the adoption between the birth parent and the adoptive parents. In other instances, an adoption can be done independently through an agreement between a birth parent and adoptive parents, or adoptive parents can look overseas to adopt a child from another country.
When you are in the process of adopting a child, there will no doubt be many different terms that will be tossed around in meetings with attorneys, adoption agency personnel, and many others. One of these is home study, which is where adoption agency personnel and perhaps social workers will visit your home and conduct an interview to determine if it will be a suitable environment for the child. Another term you may hear will be termination of parental rights, which pertains to the process of terminating a birth parent’s rights to care for their child. Should you have any questions about various terms you may hear along the way, never hesitate to ask your attorney or others for clarification.
The Legal Review Process
After the birth parent has relinquished their parental rights and the adoptive process has been decided upon, the next step involves having the process shift to a courtroom. When this happens, a judge will then be in charge of the proceedings. This starts by the judge reviewing the adoption case and examining several factors that will play a part in the final decision. Known as a “finalization,” this hearing will formally end the birth parent’s legal rights to the child and transfer those rights to the adoptive parents. In most cases, the adoptive parents will need to appear in court for this hearing, although it is not mandatory.
Hiring an Attorney
Since it will be critical to hire an attorney who specializes in this area of law, prospective parents should always take their time when choosing an attorney for this important matter in their lives. When selecting an attorney, always make sure they can answer any questions you may have in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. Along with this, also make sure they have a thorough knowledge of the adoption laws specific to your state as well as other states, in case the child being adopted is out-of-state or coming from another country.
When adopting a child, it is often possible the new parents may be eligible for various tax credits to help in caring for the child. While the attorney you are using to handle the adoption may be able to help with this area, it is often advised adoptive parents seek the advice of a skilled tax attorney or CPA to learn more about what may be available to them.
By following these steps, your adoption process should be able to proceed with few if any obstacles.