Hankey Law Firm | Shelbie Hankey | Family Attorney in Cullman AL
Adding to your family through adoption can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience. Whether you are adopting a relative’s child, a step-child, or adopting a child in need of a loving home, you are providing that child with a loving and stable home. The impact of adoption on the child’s future and your family’s future is significant.
The Hankey Law Firm is here to support you throughout the adoption process. Despite the need and desire for adoptions to take place, lawmakers in Alabama have not made the process easy. We can help you cut through some confusion and reach the desired result: your new addition at home with you.
Preparing to Adopt a Child in Alabama
Some of the most common places from which children are adopted include domestic and international adoption agencies and Alabama’s foster care system. The agencies that operate with each source have different rules and regulations that govern their specific adoption process.
For example, more steps are involved in adopting from a foreign country than adopting a child in the foster care system. Similarly, there can be additional restrictions on adopting a child from one country versus adopting a child from another country.
It is critical for you to have experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel even at these early stages. Your adoption may only make it to court if you have not complied with applicable guidelines that govern your chosen adoption type. When the appropriate time comes, your attorney can prepare your petition for adoption and file it with the appropriate court.
Adoption and Parental Rights
Before you can complete your adoption, the court will consider whether the child’s biological or legal parents continue to have parental rights over the child. This comes up frequently when adopting a child in foster care. A child in foster care may have parents who still have legal rights to the child, and unless these rights are addressed in some manner, your adoption will not proceed.
If the child’s mother and father both consent to the adoption in writing, the court will terminate their parental rights and the adoption can proceed. Otherwise, you will likely have a contested adoption hearing and you will need to present evidence to the court justifying the termination of the biological parents’ rights.
Why Hiring an Experienced Adoption Attorney is Necessary
Alabama law imposes other procedural requirements for an adoption to proceed. These requirements can include the following:
- Marriage requirements in the case of a step-parent seeking to adopt a step-child
- Residency requirements
- Consent to adoption from the child, if the child is of a certain age
- Providing notice to the biological parents and the State Department of Human Resources
- Home studies
Failing to follow these steps can delay the finalization of your adoption.
Seek Help with Your Adoption from the Hankey Law Firm
Talk with Shelbie Hankey and the Hankey Law Firm if you want to adopt a child in Alabama. With our knowledge and experience, we can help guide you through the process, minimizing errors and delay and assist you in finalizing the adoption promptly.
Call or contact our firm today to discuss your case with us.