Adoption Lawyers | Talladega Office | Serving Goodwater, AL
127 North St., PO Box 275, Talladega, AL 35161
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is in your best interest to get legal help early on in addressing your situation. There are times when hiring a lawyer quickly is critical to your case, such as if you are charged with a crime. It may also be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the fine print before signing legal documents. A lawyer can also help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve suffered a serious injury. For issues where money or property is at stake, having a lawyer guide you through the complexities of the legal system can save you time, hassle, and possibly a lot of grief in the long run.
An attorney consultation should provide you with enough information so that you can make an informed decision on whether to proceed with legal help.
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.
Affidavit – A sworn written statement made under oath. An affidavit is meant to be a supporting document to the court assisting in the verification of certain facts. An affidavit may or may not require notarization.