The adoption process can be a mixture of emotions. One moment you can be very excited about the possibility and the next filled with anxiety about all the steps you might have to take. Having a lawyer to help guide you through the process and paperwork will help you not miss any important steps and will keep the process moving along more smoothly.
We can help you navigate through the adoption process during the following areas:
Married couples must be married for at least one year prior to the adoption.
The minor to be adopted must live with the adopting parent(s) for at least six months before the adoption can be finalized.
Adopting parent(s) and any other adults living in the home must complete a local and federal criminal background check.
An adoption agency may have additional requirements such as a home study and education training.
Keeping Things on Track
An adoption is a multi-step process where things need to happen in succession for it to move forward.
The adoption process begins with the submission of a petition to adopt and supporting documents to the county Probate Court.
The Probate Court will set a hearing date and appoint an assessor to provide the court with a written report. The assessor may, among other things, visit the home, interview the adopting parent(s) and relatives, and require character references, a personal statement, a statement from your medical provider, financial statements, and fire inspection.
Additional paperwork may be required to be filed with the local Probate Court prior to the hearing date, such as consents to the adoption, divorce paperwork, and an accounting of the funds spent for the adoption.
At the hearing the Judge will be looking for evidence that the placement of the minor child with the adopting parent(s) is in the best interest of the minor child. If the adoption is approved, a Decree of Adoption is issued.
The certified Decree of Adoption allows the adopting parent(s) to have the child’s original birth certificate sealed and a new birth certificate issued.
Presence in Court
Adoptions require your presence in court. Legal counsel will be important to help you communicate with the courts effectively.
Managing Parental Rights
Once the adoption is finalized parental rights or responsibilities for the child belong to the adoptive parent(s). This means that the adoptive parent(s) has rights to custody and control of the child, including child support in the event of a divorce or dissolution.
If you are thinking of adoption, contact the lawyers at Painter & Associates.