We handle three types of adoptions. The first is the independent adoption. This is where parents seek to adopt a child whose birth parents have either consented to the adoption, or abandoned, abused or neglected the child. Without the consent of the birth parents, their parental rights must be terminated by the court before the adoption can be granted. The law also requires an investigation into the background and medical history of the adoptive parents, as well as the medical history of the child to be adopted.
The second type of case is the stepparent adoption. This is where a birth parent has married, has custody of the child, and his or her spouse wants to adopt. This procedure requires the consent of the non-custodial birth parent or a termination of the non-custodial parent’s rights, usually due to abandonment. As with the independent adoption, the background of the adopting parent must be investigated. Unlike independent adoptions, the child is already living in the home and therefore medical histories are not required, although both independent and stepparent adoptions involve a home visit to make sure that the child’s needs are being adequately met.
The third type of adoption that we handle is adult adoption. This often occurs when a stepparent adopts a child they have raised but who is now an adult. This requires the consent of the adopting parent and the adult child. It does not require the consent of the birth parents; and unlike the adoption of a child, an adult adoption normally does not require an investigation or report regarding the adoptive parent or the adopted adult.
As with any procedure affecting parentage, there are financial consequences. A birth parent who has his or her parental rights terminated no longer has the duty to support the minor child. On the other hand, the adopting parent does have a duty of support for the minor child they adopt. With regard to all adoptions, the parent and child sustain a legal relationship between one another which involves not only support requirements, but also rights of inheritance. Adoption is a very important decision and one which should be discussed with an attorney before filing a Petition with the Court.