If you are currently considering adopting a child, then you should know that most adoptions take about 12 months to complete. The process can be long and difficult, and it is in your best interest to hire a family law attorney to help you through your adoption journey. Once you hire the lawyer, make sure that the following things are done so that future legal issues do not arise.
Make Sure Parental Rights are Waved
You have many options available to you when you want to adopt a child, and some individuals decide to adopt a baby directly from the mother. This can be a good way to forego the fees and delays that arise with an adoption agency. Some mothers will claim that they do not know the father of the child or they do not know where to locate him. When this happens, your attorney can draft paperwork that asks the mother alone to sign over the parental rights of the child to you.
Find the Biological Father
If the mother alone signs over her rights, then the father of your adoptive child can later seek custody after the adoption is approved by the court. The putative father can ask the court to order a paternity test and the initial adoption can be overturned if the father wants custody. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to keep the child, but this often occurs after a lengthy and expensive legal battle.
You can completely avoid putative father issues by asking your attorney to search the putative father registry in your state to see if the father has taken responsibility for the birth of the child. If the father is not registered with the state, then your attorney can hire a private investigator to try and locate the father.
Once the father is found, your attorney will ask the father to sign over parental rights. A letter also may be sent to the father that indicates that the adoption process has been started. The individual will then need to show up at court to contest the adoption.
Be Smart About Costs
If you have decided to adopt a child directly from a pregnant mother, then you can expect to pay a wide variety of fees associated with the pregnancy and adoption. Generally, the adoptive parents will be asked to pay for court costs, direct adoption fees, and medical expenses. Medical expenses are often considered the most expensive, especially if the mother does not have health insurance. Hospital fees, test costs, and the total cost of the labor may need to be paid by you.
Every state has its own laws regarding the types of expenses and fees you can pay. Some states will allow you to pay for the mother's living expenses until the child is born, while others only allow you to cover medical costs and adoption fees. Make sure to check to see what is allowed in your state. If you pay expenses that are not allowed, then the court may feel that you are trying to pay for the child directly. It is illegal to buy a baby in the United States and your adoption may be denied by the court.
Draft a Contract
Even if you follow all the state regulations, then you still may be out a great deal of money if the birth mother decides not to give up her baby to you. Mothers have several days or weeks to decide whether or not they want to keep their children, regardless of agreements that are made beforehand. If you do not ask the mother to sign a contract that states that fees must be reimbursed, then you may need to sue the mother to get your money back.
You can avoid this concern by asking your family law attorney to draft a contract that states that expenses must be reimbursed in the event that the adoption is not finalized.
If you are thinking of adopting a child, then you need the assistance of a family law attorney. You also need to make sure that legal problems do not occur in the future if the adoption does not work out as you planned. You can click here to learn more about the assistance a family law attorney can give you.