What is adoption?
Adoption is the practice in which an adult accepts the role of parent for a child who is not the adult’s biological offspring. The process involves a court procedure in which an adult becomes legally recognized as the parent of a child who is not his or her biological child. Adoption formally creates a parent-child relationship for all commitments, including child support obligations, inheritance rights, and custody. Although the term “child” is used, adults can also be adopted, if he or she consents to adoption. Adoption of adult children may be easier to obtain certain benefits, legal protection, and/or for inheritance intentions.
There are many ways to adopt a child. These are the most common:
- Agency Adoptions: There are private and public agencies that offer adoption services. These agencies are heavily monitored and regulated by the government, but are commonly less expensive than other means. Agency adoptions do have long waiting periods, a complicated application process, and home study procedures that we will help you navigate and understand completely.
- Private Adoptions: Through private or independent adoptions, a child is placed with adoptive parents without an agency. This makes the adoption process faster and more efficient. Private adoptions are more expensive because there are no government subsidies or support services. If you want to privately adopt, Mathewson Law P.C. will discuss with you how to go through the process and assist you throughout the way.
- Stepparent Adoptions: For parents who plan to remarry and have their new spouse adopt their child from a previous relationship, he or she will need the written consent of the other biological parent. If this consent is denied, the stepparent must petition the court to terminate the parental rights of the biological parent.
Do you have to go to court to adopt?
All adoptions (public and private) must be approved by a court. The adoptive parents must petition for approval from the court as well as attend an adoption hearing. Before any hearings, anyone who is required to consent to the adoption must receive notice. This includes any biological parents, adoption agencies, the child’s legal representative or guardian, and the child if he or she is old enough. If the court decides that the adoption is in the child’s best interest, the judge will issue an order to approve and finalize the adoption. This order is called Final Decree of Adoption, which legalizes the new parent-child relationship, and changes the child’s name to the name that you have chosen.
Do I need an attorney?
Yes! Speaking with Mathewson Law P.C. will help you understand your rights and obligations as well as help you begin your process through the court and growing your family.