Adopting a child is a big step in a person’s life. Maybe you and your partner are adding to your family, or maybe an adopted child is your first offspring. Perhaps you are a stepparent adopting your stepchild. Whatever the situation, you are nervous and excited about your new role.
But before you move forward with the process, you might consider hiring an adoption attorney. Here are four reasons hiring a lawyer is a smart move.
Filing an adoption petition
When you adopt a child, you and your spouse must get approved by an adoption court. You file an adoption petition with the court and then have a hearing. If you go through an adoption agency, they will help you with your adoption petition. They could even provide legal counseling during the process. However, there is a lot of paperwork, and some of it may be hard to understand. An independent attorney can look over the documents and ensure your family’s best interests are protected.
If you do not go through an adoption agency, an attorney can help you draft paperwork and represent you during the legal process.
Terminating legal rights
Part of the adoption process is terminating the birth parents’ legal rights to the child. This can get complicated if the father is not in the picture, or if he is not known. An adoption attorney handles all the details surrounding terminating his rights.
Most adoptions are open these days. That means you stay in contact with one or both birth parents. However, an open adoption can be handled several ways. You and your partner could agree to phone calls and texts, mail correspondence or even meeting in person. An attorney can walk you through all these options and help you draft an agreement regarding communication, if you want.
If you are adopting internationally, the process is even more complex. You and your spouse must meet all the requirements of both countries. You and your partner may have to attend court in both countries. An attorney can navigate both sets of paperwork and represent you in another country’s court system.
Adopting a child requires a large amount of paperwork and time spent in court. As you and your spouse start a new life with your child, you want to know all the paperwork is handled correctly. Hiring an adoption attorney can put both of your minds at ease.