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Top Dover, DE Adoption Lawyers Near You

Adoption Lawyers | Dover Office

116 West Water Street, PO Box 598, Dover, DE 19903

Adoption Lawyers | Dover Office

414 South State Street, PO Box 497, Dover, DE 19903

Adoption Lawyers | Dover Office

250 Beiser Boulevard, Suite 202, Dover, DE 19904

Adoption Lawyers | Camden Office | Serving Dover, DE

107 S. Main Street, Camden, DE 19934

Adoption Lawyers | Dover Office

34 The Green, Dover, DE 19901

Adoption Lawyers | Dover Office

1044 S. State St., Dover, DE 19901

Adoption Lawyers | Dover Office

308 South State Street, Dover, DE 19901

Adoption Lawyers | Dover Office

19 South State Street, Suite 100, Dover, DE 19901

Dover Adoption Information

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Find an Adoption Attorney near Dover

Visit our free Adoption Resource Center.

What Are the Different Types of Adoption in Delaware?

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 Delaware adoption attorney can give you legal advice about which option may be best for you.

Private Adoption or Delaware 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 Delaware 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 Delaware. 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.

What to Expect from an Initial Consultation

  • Seek to determine whether the attorney can represent you. There is no one-size-fits-all legal solution and it may turn out your needs are better served by an attorney in a different specialization.
  • It’s important to find a legal ally who is both competent in the law and someone you can trust to protect your interests.
  • Discuss how the practice’s billing works and discuss possible additional charges or fees that may arise during or after the resolution of your case.

An attorney consultation should provide you with enough information so that you can make an informed decision on whether to proceed with legal help.

How to Find the Right Attorney

  • Determine the area of law that relates to your issue. Attorneys specialize in specific practice areas around legal issues within the broad field of law.
  • Seek out recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. A successful attorney or practice will typically have many satisfied clients.
  • Set up consultation appointments to get a better understanding of your case as well as gauge your comfort level with different attorneys. Find the attorney who is the right fit for your needs.

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.

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