Top Decatur, AL Adoption Lawyers Near You
Adoption Lawyers | Decatur Office
517 Bank St NE, Suite D, Decatur, AL 35601
Adoption Lawyers | Decatur Office
117 2nd Ave NE, Decatur, AL 35601
Decatur Adoption Information
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- 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.
Best Time to Seek Legal Help
No matter what your legal issue may be, it is always best to seek legal help early in the process. An attorney can help secure what is likely to be the best possible outcome for your situation and avoid both unnecessary complications or errors.
Top Questions to Ask a Lawyer
- What is the usual process to resolve my case? How long will it take to resolve this?
- What are likely outcomes of a case like mine? What should I expect?
An experienced lawyer should be able to communicate a basic “road map” on how to proceed. The lawyer should be able to walk you through the anticipated process, key considerations, and potential pitfalls to avoid. Once you’ve laid out the facts of your situation to the lawyer, he/she should be able to frame expectations and likely scenarios to help you understand your legal issue.
How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.
Common legal terms explained
Plaintiff – a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.
Judgment – A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.