Adoption Lawyers in Clarksville Leading You Through the Adoption Process
Adding a child to your family is always a good thing, but if you are doing this through the process of adoption, it is important to be prepared for what this process entails and how long it can take. The adoption process is a complex legal process that requires the help of an experienced family law attorney. If you have questions about what adoption involves and what you need to know, keep reading to learn more.
If you are a prospective adoptive parent looking for legal counsel, our law firm is here to guide you through the process. At Hibbeler & Associates, we know that adoption is exciting but that it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. We’re here to provide a listening ear and guiding hand — as well as sound legal counsel — as you move through the adoption process.
What Is Involved in the Adoption Process?
The adoption process sounds easy. You are just transferring parental rights from one party to another. However, in reality, these cases can be extremely complex and have many stages and setbacks to go through because the adoption is finalized. As prospective adoptive parents, it is important to be aware of what is involved in the adoption process so you can have accurate expectations and know what to expect from the beginning.
Choose the Method of Adoption
The first stage in the adoption process — after making sure that adoption is right for your family — is to decide how you want to adopt. You have the option of a private adoption — also known as an independent adoption, adopting through the department of children’s services, using a domestic adoption agency, or using an international adoption agency. Each of these options has its own pluses and minuses, so it is important that you research them thoroughly to determine which one fits the needs and desires of your family. You may also want to consider which option is the most accessible budget-wise and factor in how long each option usually takes from start to finish.
Satisfy All Legal Requirements
One of the most time-consuming parts of the adoption process is when you are going through all of the requirements to be adoptive parents. In general, you will need to ensure that you meet the requirements to be an adoptive parent. Adoption agencies usually have their own set of requirements, and even private adoptions where prospective adoptive parents are dealing directly with biological mothers may have to deal with specific things the mother wants in adoptive parents. The department may require a home visit of children’s services. If you have already completed some of these requirements as foster parents, that may speed up the process a bit.
You will also need to go through the legal process of filing for the adoption, which includes the biological parents doing what is required to have their parental rights terminated so that the adoption can be finalized.
Finalize the Adoption
Once you have gotten through all of the other parts of the adoption process, it is time for the adoption to be finalized. This is done at a final hearing where you are legally instated as the child’s legal parent. Your attorney will be present with you at this hearing to ensure everything goes smoothly and as expected.
How Much Does Adoption Cost?
Adoption costs can vary dramatically depending on which adoption method you choose. In general, the less expensive adoption route is if you go through a direct adoption process where you work with the biological parent directly and don’t go through an agency. Domestic adoptions are also generally less expensive than international adoptions.
When you are considering how much an adoption costs, you will want to take into consideration any fees charged by the agency, court costs, and the retainer for legal counsel. Complex adoptions or those that face a lot of legal challenges generally cost more just based on they require more time and effort on the attorney’s part to navigate. Before you hire an adoption attorney, make sure to talk with them about their fees and how much you can expect the adoption to cost overall.
How Long Does Adoption Take?
How long an adoption takes depends on the type of adoption and the unique circumstances of the case. If you complete the legal requirements quickly, you can shorten the process a bit, but some of the time is not under your control, such as waiting for the adoption hearing to be scheduled. A complex adoption where the parental rights are terminated by the state instead of voluntarily can also take longer than simpler cases, such as a stepparent adoption where the other parent is deceased. If you have questions about how long you can expect adoption to take, talk to your attorney.
Should I Hire an Adoption Lawyer?
If you’re contemplating adoption, you may be wondering if you need an attorney. The answer is a resounding yes! The adoption process is a complex legal process, and it’s one that can be very confusing for the layperson to navigate and understand. There are a lot of stages and requirements to keep track of, and it’s easy to derail the process. There are almost always some setbacks or challenges at some point, and having an attorney can help you deal with these quickly so that your adoption can continue on as planned. An adoption attorney can also point you to other helpful resources and ensure you understand the legal ramifications of adopting a child.
Call our law office at 931-236-2711 to find out more about the benefits of hiring an adoption lawyer from Hibbeler & Associates. We offer our new clients a free consultation so you can discuss your case with a member of our team to get legal counsel and find out what the next steps are.