Adopting A Child? How A Lawyer Can Help.
Few things are more demanding or more rewarding than bringing a child into your home and your life. Adoption is the process by which a non-biological child legally becomes yours. Linda M. DiPasquale will advise you with compassion and represent you with skill to help you realize your dream.
Understanding The Implications Of Adoption
Adoption makes the petitioners the legal parents of the child, with all the rights and obligations a biological parent would have, including:
- Legal custody — the right to make decisions for a minor child
- Support — the obligation to support a minor child
- Inheritance — the child’s right to inherit your estate
- Beneficiary rights — including, for example, government benefits if you become disabled
- Custody and visitation rights — if the parents ultimately go their separate ways
Navigating The Adoption Process Isn’t Easy
The road to an adoption order is a long one. You need a lawyer to advise you from the beginning of the process to the end. For my adoption clients, I help line up social service professionals, prepare all the necessary forms and appear in court when necessary.
There are two types of adoptions:
- Private placement adoption may occur within a family. For example, a grandparent, aunt or uncle might adopt an orphaned child, or a stepfather assumes full parental responsibilities with the consent of the biological mother. In some cases, individuals unknown to the biological mother and father may contract with the parents through a third party.
- Agency placement is the more common type of adoption. Here a would-be parent is connected with a child by an adoption agency.
An agency placement adoption involves a number of steps:
- Choosing an agency. There are more than 130 authorized agencies in our state, each with its own procedures. Choosing the right agency is an important part of the process, in which you need the advice of an experienced Buffalo adoption attorney.
- Submitting the application. Once you choose an agency, you submit an application to adopt, which includes information about the adopting family and its preferences.
- Background checks. The adopting family is scrutinized to determine if it is suitable.
- Home study and report. During the home study, the agency caseworker gains insight into the adopting family, and educates the family about the challenges of adoption. The home study concludes with a written report that accompanies the application through the placement process.
- Search for a child. Once the family has been thoroughly vetted, a search is made through databases and registries for a child who is available for adoption and whose best interests would be served by placement with the applicant family.
- Provisional placement. After a child is found, he or she may be placed with the family on a provisional basis.
- Finalization. Sometimes it may be several months of supervision by the caseworker before the adoptive parents file a petition with the court to finalize the adoption.
The biological parents also should have legal representation to ensure that their rights are protected.
As with any important and complex legal process that affects your family relationships, you need a family law attorney to provide you with experienced and compassionate counsel.
Questions about adoption? Read answers to some of the most frequently asked adoption questions here.
Get Answers To Your Adoption Questions
I will counsel you with compassion throughout the adoption process. Call me today at 716-800-2591 or contact me online for a consultation. For your convenience, appointments may be scheduled during flexible hours.
My office is centrally located in downtown Buffalo, New York, one block from the family and supreme courts. I serve clients in Buffalo and throughout Erie and Niagara counties, and I always handle family law matters with care.