Top Alexander City, AL Adoption Lawyers Near You
Alexander City Adoption Information
Lead Counsel independently verifies Adoption attorneys in Alexander City and checks their standing with Alabama bar associations.Our Verification Process and Criteria
- Ample Experience Attorneys must meet stringent qualifications and prove they practice in the area of law they’re verified in.
- Good Standing Be in good standing with their bar associations and maintain a clean disciplinary record.
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What Are the Different Types of Adoption in Alabama?Adoption can be wonderful for parents or families who want to bring another person into their life. Adoption is not just for couples who cannot have children of their own. There are many different types of adoption, including public adoption, private adoption, independent adoption, international adoption, stepparent adoption, and grandparent adoption. Surrogacy may be another option where a mother carries a child for someone else. Each state has its own state laws for adoption.
Open Adoption or Closed Adoption?In a closed adoption, the child does not meet or find out about their biological parents. With an open adoption, the adoptive parents and birth parents can remain in contact during the adopted child’s life. There are different degrees of how open an adoption can be, from sharing limited information about the child to regular visits with the birth parent. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of adoption and a Alabama adoption attorney can give you legal advice about which option may be best for you.
Private Adoption or Alabama Adoption?States provide adoption through the state child welfare agency or social services. Adoption through the state is generally known as public adoption or foster adoption. A public adoption can be much less expensive than private adoption but adoptive parents may have limited options and have to first get approved under the Alabama foster care program. A private adoption involves working with a private adoption agency. An adoption agency works with the adoptive parents and the birth parent to go through the adoption legal process. Private adoption requires approval by the adoption agency under their own policies. Private adoption can be much more expensive than public adoption, with adoptive parents paying adoption fees, legal fees, travel expenses, and medical expenses.
What Happens in the Adoption Process?The adoption process can take a long time and the process may be different depending on the type of adoption. Adoption through the foster care system may take as little as a few months. However, parents who are waiting to adopt a young child or newborn may wait years. International adoptions may also take longer than domestic adoptions. Adoption begins with finding the right adoption agency, either public or private. The adoption agency will conduct a home study and initial certification to approve the adoptive parents. When there is a match for the adopted child, the child can be placed with the family during a supervisory or probationary period. After follow-up visits and approval, the parents can complete the legal process for formal adoption.
How Does a Stepparent Get an Adoption?Adoption by a stepparent or family member can be an option for families that are already related to the child. In a stepparent adoption, someone who gets married to someone who has a child can go through the process of getting parenting rights to the stepchild. In a stepparent adoption, the other parent has to give up their parental rights to the stepparent. For example, if a mother of a child gets married to a new partner, the stepparent takes over the father’s rights and responsibilities.
Can Same-Sex Parents Adopt a Child?Same-sex couples have the legal right to adopt a child in Alabama. However, LGBTQ+ parents may have fewer options for adoption. Religious adoption agencies are still able to refuse to allow same-sex adoptions. International adoption may also be limited for same-sex couples where the country’s law does not allow adoption by same-sex parents.
How Can I Adopt a Child in Another Country?Some parents turn to international adoption to bring in a child from a foreign country. Adoption cases for children in other countries can be more complicated. In addition to following the adoption agency policies, adoptive parents have to comply with state adoption laws, the adoption laws of the child’s birth country, and U.S. immigration laws. Even after adoption, many countries require follow-up adoption reports on the child’s welfare.
What Happens if Adoptive Parents Get a Divorce?When a child is adopted, the adoptive parents have full parenting rights of the child. If the adoptive parents then get a divorce, the divorce is handled just like any other divorce involving a child. The parents and the court will have to determine child custody, visitation, and child support just like any other parents. A family law attorney can give you more information about adoptive parents and divorce.
How Much Does Adoption Cost?Adoption can be expensive and the costs of adoption depend on the type of adoption. Using a private adoption agency can be more expensive, up to $50,000. Adoption through the foster care system can be closer to $2,000 to $5,000. Adoption costs can include legal fees, home study costs, and agency fees. International adoption may have additional expenses, including international travel expenses. There may be tax credits available for adoption that can help offset the costs.
How an Attorney Can Help
An attorney can often resolve your particular legal issue faster and better than trying to do it alone. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors. You should seek out an attorney whose practice focuses on the area of law most relevant to your issue.
How to Prepare for Your Initial Consultation
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
Types of legal fees:
Bill by the hour: Many attorneys bill by the hour. How much an attorney bills you per hour will vary based on a number of factors. For instance, an attorney’s hourly fee may fluctuate based on whether that hour is spent representing you in court or doing research on your case. Attorneys in one practice area may bill you more than attorneys in a different practice area.
Contingent fee: Some lawyers will accept payment via contingent fee. In this arrangement, the lawyer receives a percentage of the total monetary recovery if you win your lawsuit. In sum, the lawyer only gets paid if you win. Contingent fee agreements are limited to specific practice areas in civil law.
Flat fee: For “routine” legal work where the attorney generally knows the amount of time and resources necessary to complete the task, he/she may be willing to bill you a flat fee for services performed.
Common legal terms explained
Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.