Family law: Adoption
Adopting a child can be a challenging process fraught with paperwork and legal formalities. Depending on your choice of adoption, the legal system can become hard to navigate on one’s own. Having a reliable and experienced attorney to counsel and guide you through the process can be helpful and reassuring. Adoption process requires strict adherence to the laws and regulations of the state. It is carefully monitored by authorities, and any breach in the protocol can set back your case. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have a family law attorney handle the adoption for you, even if you are working with an agency. Bhuchar Law Firm can help you understand the steps involving the adoption, and your legal responsibilities and obligations as the adoptive parents.
Based on the situation, the adoptive parents can choose from a few adoption types that agree with them.
- Private adoptions
- Step-child adoptions
- Grandchild adoptions
- Adoption by a relative
- Same-sex adoptions
- Foster parent adoptions
- Special needs child adoptions
- Domestic adoptions
- International adoptions
Private adoptions are adoptions where biological parents choose a prospective couple for adopting their child. The biological parents can pick the adoptive parents themselves or with the help of an agency. It is one of the most common types of adoption that allows individuals to extend their family. For the adoption to be finalized, the authorities run background checks on the family adopting the child for criminal or abuse records. A home study is conducted to evaluate the house for the child’s comfort and safety and assess the environment the child will have growing up. Interviews are conducted of the parents and other family members residing in the house. These steps are a way to ensure that the family/parents adopting the child are financially and mentally stable to raise the child and provide them a loving home. A ‘Complaint for Adoption’ then needs to be filed by the parents looking to adopt. The process can be slightly different depending on whether it is direct adoption between biological and adoptive parents or adoption through the agency. The process becomes complicated when the adoption is international as it requires you to comply with the laws of adoption of two different countries. The same holds for out of state adoption in the US since the laws of two states in the same country are often different. A lawyer can help you with your proceedings and paperwork.
Open and closed adoptions:
Open adoption is an adoption where the biological parents are allowed to keep in touch with the adoptive parents and the child. The extent and the form of interaction between the parents and the child can vary with each individual case. Sometimes it is limited to regular updates, and occasionally it can include visits to the child from the biological parents. It is recommended that the parents discuss the arrangement they prefer and, when agreed upon by both sets of parents, sign an agreement to avoid ambiguity or conflicts. Though, such post-adoption agreements are not enforceable in a court of law in New Jersey.
Closed adoptions do not allow any contact between the biological parents and the child after the adoption. Both families involved in the adoption never meet, and the adoption records are sealed to protect the families’ privacy. Neither family has the contact information of the other.
Before 2017, a court order was required to access sealed adoption records. But the rules changed in January 2017, now allowing adoptive parents or the adopted child if eighteen years of age or above to request the uncertified long-form copy of the original birth certificate of the child from the state registrar if needed.
Each adoption case is different, having its own rules and regulations. Our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys at Bhuchar law firm can explain your legal duties and responsibilities as the parents and assist you with the paperwork. As adoption is a closely observed process, it is essential that you understand your role and are fully prepared. We ensure that the adoption process is smooth for you, and you can step into the future you envisioned for yourself. If you have any questions, kindly contact our office to book a consultation with our attorneys.