Is A Lawyer for Uncontested Adoption Necessary?
Either a biological parent might be absent, or the relationship has fallen apart… An uncontested adoption is an option for families of different backgrounds to better tie themselves together with more legal binding. With the rate of divorce in the US being so high, it is not uncommon that children from previous marriages might be in a situation where they wish to be adopted formally by their stepparent. But, the process for such can be complicated. A parent might wonder if the assistance of a legal professional might be necessary.
Steps for a Successful Adoption
To begin, it is possible for a family to mediate their own uncontested adoption without assistance, but it can again be complicated. Even in perfect conditions, there are many steps necessary for a successful uncontested adoption to occur.
- A large amount of paperwork must be filed with the court on specific deadlines.
- Those that wish to adopt must be capable of resolving and answering any questions the court might have about the child and their paternity.
- The other parent, if still alive, must give consent for the adoption to occur.
- The child being adopted (if over the age of 14) must also give their consent for the adoption.
- Paperwork must be filed with the DHS; they are considered an interested party and must be informed about the process.
- The court might perform evaluations using a DHS social worker. This is including interviews, potential home studies, and more, to ensure that the home is a safe environment.
- Adoption hearings must proceed, with judges conducting interviews with parents and children wishing to be adopted.
- And finally, this entire process, once completed, can have a waiting period. It can be up to 90 days after the proceedings are completed to finalize it legally.
This can be daunting for any family to consider, and thus, the professional help of someone in the legal field can help ease you through the paperwork and courtrooms. Usually, this is a stepparent wishing to adopt a child legally – But other family members seeking to take over the role of legal guardian and parent can make this more complicated.
What Happens if the Adoption is Contested?
If you enter this process with the mindset that the previous parent will not contest… There is a chance that they will. In this situation, even if the previous parent has little to no contact with the child in question, they still have legal rights. So no, they cannot be forced to waive them easily, and this is where mediation is often necessary.
If this becomes your situation, our specialists at Thompson Law would be happy to assist you. We have an understanding of the legal proceedings and can ensure that you are able to form the family of your wishes. Even if the adoption is contested, you have options. The court can find it in the child’s best interests to proceed with the adoption regardless of the other parent’s consent. Contact our specialists for a consultation, and we can help determine if this is the case for you.