Adoption, Termination of Parental Rights
Adoptions can be a joyous time for all parties involved. Full of positive futures and hopeful plans. The adoption process
can be complex. If an adoption is not done correctly the adoption can be overturned.
When a child’s natural parent or parents are unable to care for their child due to unfitness, abandonment, death or just simply want a better life for their child, the adoption system creates an opportunity for someone to step in and take on the responsibilities of a parent.
For a child to be adopted, the parental rights of one or both parents must be terminated. Parental rights can be terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily. A few grounds for involuntary termination include abuse, neglect, and failure to support. When seeking an involuntary termination, the standard of proof is high and must be clear and convincing. In a voluntary case, either parent or both can sign a document that voluntarily terminates their rights as parents to the child.
Under state laws, any adult age 21 or older has the legal ability to adopt a child. This includes any gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. There are requirements that must be met based on the type of adoption that is occurring, including whether it is an international adoption or local adoption.
A birth father can consent for an adoption at any point before or after a child is born. A birth mother must wait at least 48-hours after the birth of child before she can sign the necessary paperwork. There needs to be witnesses present and be verified.
Another step in in the adoption process is the home-study. This will involve an inspection of your home, parental abilities, finances, and background checks for the perspective adopt parent(s). Abuse and neglect checks will also be required on any adults to better ensure the home is suitable for the child.
Once all the steps have been completed an adoption hearing takes place. A judge will ask you questions and then issue a final decree of adoption. After you have received the final decree of adoption you can then correct the birth certificate, obtain a new birth certificate and file for the child’s social security number.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule your consultation.