5 Reasons to Hire an Adoption Lawyer
The decision to adopt a child is not one that any parent takes lightly. And whether you choose this path because you cannot have children yourself or because you want to open your home to kids in need, you may be considering hiring an adoption lawyer to help you through the tricky legalities of such an undertaking. Here are just a few reasons why you should.
- Knowledge. Even if this is not your first rodeo when it comes to adoption, it’s extremely unlikely that you are privy to the knowledge, expertise, and resources that an experienced adoption attorney has at his fingertips. Since you want the process to go off without a hitch, it’s not a bad idea to have a pro in your corner.
- Fair representation. While it sometimes happens that birth parents are amenable to giving their child up for adoption and the process is an open one (where the birth and adoptive parents are in contact throughout), it’s important that each party involved in this legal transaction have fair representation by their own lawyers so as to ensure that their rights are protected. You probably want to trust the birth mother when she says that she’s doing the right thing for her child by giving him up for adoption, but you’ll no doubt get peace of mind from knowing that a professional has overseen all of the documentation required to make the process legal and binding.
- Personal complications. Suppose you’re adopting a child from a single mother who simply can’t care for him. Are you certain that the father or grandparents won’t attempt to gain legal custody after the fact? And what if the biological mother changes her mind? What if the child has been taken from the home by force, say because the parents are addicted to drugs, they are abusive, or they have been subject to criminal charges? What’s to stop them from trying to claim their parental rights should they get their lives back on track? An adoption lawyer can help you to assess these risks and plan a strategy for the future.
- Legal complications. Whenever you adopt a child you are to some degree putting yourself at the mercy of the laws that govern your state, your country, or the nation your child comes from. A good adoption lawyer will be well aware of any laws that could affect you and your child. For example, did you know that adopting a child with Native American heritage could result in the tribe suing for legal guardianship? Did you know that in cases of international adoption, children are sometimes taken for adoption without the consent of the parents? These are things that you, as the adopting parent, need to know so that you don’t get yourself into a sea of legal complications that you are not prepared to navigate.
- Private adoption. While many adoptions are arranged through an agency of some sort, like a fostering company based in Kent or an international service that connects pregnant women with waiting families, not all are conducted in this manner. In some cases you may opt to forego the waiting list of an agency and adopt a child privately. In either case it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney, but when you choose a private adoption it is essential to ensure that everything is covered from a legal standpoint so that you don’t have to revisit your legal status as a parent down the line.