What To Expect From A Family Law Attorney During An Adoption
If you are the legal guardian of a child and want to move forward with an adoption, the best thing you can do is get legal advice. A family law attorney is an attorney who handles all legal matters involving family legal issues, including adoption. Here's what you can expect from your attorney during the adoption process.
Determine Adoption Eligibility
During your initial consultation, your attorney will be able to help you determine if you are legally able to adopt. In most states, you will have had to have been the legal custodian of the child for a certain period of time. If the natural parents are unfit or unable to care for a child, your lawyer can help you terminate the parental rights of the natural parents. If the parents will relinquish their rights voluntarily, this can usually be done with your lawyer drafting a relinquishment document for signing, otherwise a petition for termination will have to be drafted and presented before a judge.
Background Check and Home Study Requirements
Different states have different background check requirements for adoption. Your lawyer can direct you to the appropriate background check agency to get a certified background verification. Whether or not you need a background check or a home study completed by a social worker will depend on your circumstances. If you are adopting a child that you're related to, neither checks may be necessary. That will usually depend on whether or not the adoption is contested. If you are going through an agency, your lawyer can help you schedule a home study evaluation through the social worker involved with placing the child. You will also be counseled on how to prepare to get the best results on your evaluation.
Adoption Court Hearing and Finalization
Once the natural parents rights have been relinquished or terminated, and once you have successfully completed a home study, your lawyer will be able to schedule a hearing for your adoption and present your case. He or she will draft an order for the judge to sign, as well as findings of fact in the case, and present both to the judge. In most cases, unless an adoption is contested by someone who has a claim to guardianship, your petition should be granted at the adoption hearing.
Adoption can be a wonderful thing, especially if it goes smoothly. A family law lawyer like one from Kleveland Law will help you ensure your adoption is done legally, and that you meet all of the requirements to have a successful hearing before an adoption judge.