Montgomery County Adoption Attorney
For the first time in history, most of today’s children grow up in “nontraditional” homes, such as single parent households, grandparent-headed households, or adoptive households. Before they are able to thrive, these families must overcome some unique financial and emotional challenges.
The experienced Montgomery County adoption attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand quickly evaluate your family’s situation and lay out your legal options. As outlined below, these options normally include a private adoption, agency adoption, or a stepparent adoption. If done properly, each option could meet your family’s needs, both now and in the future.
These adoptions could be domestic or foreign adoptions. Domestic private adoptions are usually very transparent, a feature that many people find quite attractive. Foreign private adoptions are, from a legal standpoint, re-adoptions. So, there are some unique issues to deal with.
In a private domestic adoption, the prospective adopting family typically works directly with an expectant mother. Pennsylvania law carefully regulates the amount and type of financial assistance that prospective adoptive families can give mothers before, during, and after they give birth.
These adoptions usually involve little or no bureaucratic red tape. The downside is that, if an attorney misses a step or does things in the incorrect order, either the baby’s mother or father could subsequently undo the adoption, or at least try to undo it.
This attention to detail is even more important in foreign adoptions. There are no do-overs in this context. The entire process, especially the foreign adoption and the domestic re-adoption, must be carefully and fully planned in advance.
Once upon a time, almost all adoptions were agency adoptions. Such matters are still common, but not as common as they were back in the day.
Generally, the agency takes care of almost everything, including representation at the adoption hearing.
Nevertheless, these families still need their own legal representatives. The agency’s lawyer represents the agency and the child. This lawyer does not represent your family. Furthermore, it is very easy for adoptive families to feel like they are lost in the shuffle. An attorney helps ensure that their voices are heard and that they are fully prepared for things like the adoptive home study.
Of all the aforementioned nontraditional families, stepparent-headed households might be the most common ones. Not all blended families seamlessly and instantly mesh like The Brady Bunch. A stepparent adoption could be the catalyst which gets things moving in the right direction.
Usually, the first order of business is to ensure that adoptive stepparents fully understand the process. For legal purposes, they have the same rights and responsibilities as competent biological parents. And, if the marriage ends in divorce, they could be liable for child support payments.
Next, the other parent’s legal rights must be terminated. If the other parent has little contact with the child, most MontgomeryCounty judges approve a voluntary termination of parental rights. An involuntary termination might also be possible, in some limited situations.
If attorneys do their homework, the adoption itself is normally straightforward. Most judges waive the home study requirement in these situations
The biggest question mark in this process is usually the termination of parental rights. Parents who refuse to cut off their rights often agree to a name change petition. That petition does not have the same legal effect as an adoption. But at least everyone in the house will have the same last name.
Count on a Diligent Attorney
Adoption is the best way to expand your family. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Montgomery County, contact Kardos, Rickles & Hand. After-hours visits are available.