Does Adoption Ever Become a Legal Issue?

Adoption is a legal process that involves many important and complex steps. Taking another individual into your family as your child is an act that is governed by state laws, which prescribe exactly how the adoption needs to unfold. Without these laws and the federal statutes that support and guide them, there would be no boundaries, no permanence, no confidentiality and no protections for either the child, the adoptive parents, or the birth parents. The laws that have been written around adoption are guided by the standard of what is in the best interests of the child. Here are just a few of the things you’ll need to be familiar with if you’re considering adopting a child.

  • Termination of parental rights – This is required before a child is legally free to be adopted. It can be either a voluntary or involuntary step. Some states have an established period of time during which a birth parent can appeal.
  • Consent to adoption – B legal document in which birth parents state their intent to give their child up for adoption. It can also be the form that an adoption agency uses to finalize an adoption after the agency and the legal process has been completed.
  • Legal risk – Period when a child is placed with an adoptive parent prior to the termination of parental rights and during which time the birth parent can revoke consent.
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) – individuals who speak for the best interests of the child in court.
  • Open adoption agreement – A non-binding agreement that delineates the rules of contact between adoptive parents and birth families.
  • Finalization – The legal process that transfers custody of the child from the adoption agency, county or state to the adoptive parents. This cannot happen until the adoptive parents have had the child in their home for a period established by the laws of the state.
  • Adoption decree – The certificate that states that the adoptee is the legal child of the adoptive parent(s).
  • Amended birth certificate – Issued after adoption, the amended birth certificate names the adoptive parents as parents. An adopted child will have both an original and an amended birth certificate.

Adoptions have multiple variables that can affect how complex or risky the process will be. If you are considering adopting a child, it is essential that you have the guidance and representation of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. To set up a time to discuss your case, contact us today.