If you are planning on adopting a child, you may need an adoption lawyer. This particularly goes for adopting privately rather than from state foster care. Wait times are often shorter for younger children and infants (although they can be longer for older children).
An adoption lawyer will help you through the process. They can help you find the right agency, especially if you are a non-traditional family (some adoption agencies are religious in nature and will only adopt to heterosexual married couples). They can also help you pursue an independent adoption and can assist in intrafamily adoptions (such as adopting your niece after something happens to her parents).
The lawyer will walk you through the process, prepare the paperwork for you, attend any necessary court appearances, and make sure you comply with your state’s laws and requirements. While it’s absolutely possible to pursue adoption without a lawyer, there are pitfalls along the way which can lead you to end up losing the child, even after you have already painted the nursery. Here are some adoption basics in North Carolina.
The most stressful circumstance outside of interstate adoptions is a contested adoption. This most often happens when one parent wants to put the child up for adoption, but the other doesn’t. Often, the mother may try to get the child adopted and the father will say “Wait a minute, I want this baby.” Another situation is when the birth father does agree, but the mother was legally married to another person, and they don’t agree to the adoption. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that these things don’t come out until the adoption process has already begun, entangling the prospective adoptive parents in the mess.
In some cases, the best answer is to walk away and look for another child. In others, it may be worth contesting the adoption. The judge will consider the laws of the state as well as the actions and rights of the parents. If the birth father seems to be a good prospect, then the court may well find in their favor. In North Carolina, though, he has to demonstrate that he has an interest in parenting the child by overcoming the termination of parental rights petition. For example, if he has abandoned the mother and child for a year, failed to pay ordered child support, or he has lost rights to other children, the court may grant the termination of his parental rights and allow the adoption to proceed.
It’s wise to make sure you have as much information as possible about your child’s bio parents – the biological father, the legal father, and the mom, and you should do due diligence in trying to locate them. You should also communicate with them ahead of time, which may give you a better chance to avoid a contested adoption or, alternatively, help you make the decision not to pursue. This is another thing an adoption lawyer can help with, and if it does end up in court they will argue the case on your behalf.
Adoption lawyers help prospective parents through the entire process from finding an agency or a child to finalizing the adoption. It’s vital for prospective parents to have a good lawyer who focuses on adoption and family law as a practice area so that they can get through things smoothly and with less stress. If you are looking to adopt a child or learn more about the process anywhere in North Carolina, then contact Apple Payne Law today.