An adoption is often one of the happiest times in a family’s life. It is the formal welcoming of a new member into the family. Every adoption is unique and requires careful preparation.
The process for adoption varies depending upon the specific circumstances of a case. All adoptions start by filing a petition with the court and serving the required parties, including the adoptee. In all cases when a child is to be adopted, a guardian ad litem will be appointed to investigate the matter to ensure the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
If the adoptive parents are not related to the child, the Court will require a home study be performed by a licensed agency to ensure the child will be in an appropriate environment. Background checks may also be required. A guardian ad litem will be appointed by the Court to interview the adoptive parents and child. For related adoptions, the appointment of a guardian ad litem may also be required at the discretion of the court.
If a biological parent exists, and if the biological parent’s parental rights have not been terminated, the parent will need to consent to the adoption and the termination of their parental rights. Generally this is done before the Court. If the biological parents do not consent, a hearing may be needed to determine if grounds exist for the termination of parental rights. If the biological parents’ parental rights are terminated and the guardian ad litem approves of the adoption, the adoption will be finalized and approved by the Court.
The costs and time it takes for an adoption to be completed varies depending on the facts and circumstances.
If you are considering an adoption, please contact us. An attorney can discuss the specific details of your adoption plans, the procedures and steps in the process, what you can expect, costs and and answer your questions.