Monmouth County Adoption Lawyers
Adopting a child is a life-changing decision that will impact not only the rest of your life, but the life of the adopted child, as well. People have a variety of reasons to pursue adoption, ranging from infertility to a desire to provide a good home to a child in need. Once the decision to pursue adoption has been made, prospective parents often discover that the process can be complicated and time consuming. An experienced adoption lawyer can help you determine the best type of adoption that will work for your family and guide you through every step of the process.
There are a few different ways to pursue adoption, depending upon the exact circumstances of the adoptive family. The following provides a brief explanation of some of the more common types of adoption.
- Adult Adoptions: This type of adoption, which is legal in most states, allows one adult to adopt another as long as there is a ten-year age difference between the two. These often take place when a stepparent never got around to making the adoption official, and wants to complete the adoption in order to assure inheritance rights. Many states have special protections in place in order to prevent elder financial abuse from taking place.
- Agency Adoptions: A public agency, or one licensed or regulated by the state, places a child with adoptive parents. Adoptions through public agencies usually involve children who have become wards of the state, often as a result of abandonment or abuse. Private agencies, run by charities or private organizations, typically place children by parents who are giving their child up for adoption.
- Independent Adoptions: There is no agency involved in an independent adoption. This type of adoption involves a direct arrangement between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. An adoption lawyer is often hired to draw up the legal paperwork. An open adoption occurs when the adoptive parents are involved in the pregnancy and agree to maintain some degree of contact with the birth parents after the adoption.
- Identified Adoptions: A combination of an independent adoption and an agency adoption, this happens when the adoptive parents find the birth parents on their own, but request that an adoption agency handle the adoption process.
- International Adoptions: In order for someone to adopt a child who is a citizen of another country, the parent/s must meet the adoption requirements of the foreign country as well as the parents’ home state. In addition, they must obtain an immigrant visa for the child, which they can get through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Relative (Kinship) Adoptions: If a child’s parents die or become unable to care for them, a member of the family may come forward to adopt the child/children. This type of adoption is usually easier than non-relative adoptions, as it is often a priority to keep children with their family rather than separating them.
- Same-Sex Adoptions: The legal rights of same-sex parents vary from state to state. A gay couple interested in adopting a child may do so in a number of ways. For example, one partner in a lesbian couple may give birth to a child, and the other partner can become the legal parent through the second parent or stepparent adoption process. Similarly, gay men might use a surrogate to carry a child that used one partner’s sperm. Then the other partner can pursue the same adoption process.
- Same-sex couples interested in adopting jointly can adopt through an agency or independent adoption, if their states allows it. Same-sex couples should seek legal advice from an adoption lawyer in order to become aware of local and state laws, and how those laws will impact their decision to adopt.
- Stepparent Adoption: This type of adoption is often easier to complete than other type simply because certain steps may be waived, such as a waiting period or a home study. Getting consent from the birth parent is often the only obstacle, if the other parent refuses to provide consent.
Who Can Adopt? Generally speaking, any adult who is considered fit may adopt a child. But depending on where you live and your particular situation, you may run into obstacles that you should be prepared to address.
- Different Race or Ethnic Background: While it is not necessary to be the same race as the child you wish to adopt, some states give preferences to prospective parents that are the same race as the child they hope to adopt.
- Domestic Partners: Agencies are generally bias towards the more “traditional” married couples, so you may be expected to wait longer and be willing to accept a child that is older or of a different background than you hoped for.
- Same-Sex Couples: More states than ever before are allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt, but it is in your best interest to hire an experienced adoption lawyer to handle the adoption. Even if sexual orientation is not a specified adoption statute, it may become an issue in court.
- Single Parents: As a single parent, you may need to be prepared to wait longer for a child and be open to an adoption process that may not be exactly what you had envisioned. You will have to build a very strong case about how you plan to support your child on your own, and how it would impact the child if you were to eventually marry. While this scrutiny may seem unfair, it is quite common.
Monmouth County Divorce Lawyers at Fox & Melofchik Handle All Aspects of the Adoption Process
The decision to adopt is not one that is entered into lightly. If you are considering adopting a child, contact Monmouth County adoption lawyers at Fox & Melofchik so we can guide you through each step of the process and help address any issues that may arise. Call us today at 732-493-9400 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
Our offices are located in Ocean Township, New Jersey and we serve clients in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Mercer County and the towns of Long Branch, Neptune, Asbury Park, Middletown, Ocean Township, Freehold, Wall, Sea Girt and Neptune.