Top Somerville, AL Adoption Lawyers Near You
Adoption Lawyers | Decatur Office | Serving Somerville, AL
117 2nd Ave NE, Decatur, AL 35601
Adoption Lawyers | Decatur Office | Serving Somerville, AL
517 Bank St NE, Suite D, Decatur, AL 35601
Somerville Adoption Information
Lead Counsel independently verifies Adoption attorneys in Somerville 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.
- Annual Review Submit to an annual review to retain their Lead Counsel Verified status.
- Client Commitment Pledge to follow the highest quality client service and ethical standards.
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.
Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney
- How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
- How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
- What is the likely outcome for my case?
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
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.
How will an attorney charge me?
A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:
- Bill by the hour
- Contingent fee agreement
- Flat fee agreement
Depending on your specific legal situation, it’s possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.
Common legal terms explained
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.