Do you want to grow your family through adoption? The adoption process can be lengthy and challenging and requires professional legal help. Let our experienced adoption attorneys fully explain the process and answer your questions. Start by setting up an appointment today.
What Is Adoption?
Adoption is the legal and permanent process of placing a child (or adult) into an adoptive family as if they were naturally born to the adoptive parents.
The adoption process may start in many ways, including private adoption through a licensed agency, state adoption through the Children’s Division, step-parent adoption, or by an attorney, physician, or clergy member. Before any adoption can occur, the court must terminate the biological parent’s parental rights and approve a custody transfer.
When a child usually enters the foster care system, it is because they have suffered abuse or neglect and their biological parents have lost custody. The state now takes custody, and if the birth parents cannot continue caring for the child, the state seeks to find families to adopt them.
When a woman discovers an unplanned pregnancy, one of her options is to place her child for adoption. She can choose to find a couple on her own or work with a licensed agency that has access to families across the nation. In Missouri, a birth mother must wait a minimum of 48 hours after her child is born before consenting to the adoption.
For a step-parent to adopt a spouse’s child, they must obtain the absent parent’s consent or prove the absent parent has abandoned the child. In Missouri, a child 14 years or older must sign a consent for adoption. Once finalized, the court issues a new birth certificate showing the child’s new name and the new parent.
When Is Legal Representation Required?
When pursuing adoption, a legal representative files a petition for transfer of custody in the family or juvenile court. After the courts terminate parental rights, they transfer custody to the adoptive parents and appoint an attorney to act as guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests.
The courts do not finalize the actual adoption for six months when a final adoption hearing is held. At this final hearing, the court determines if all requirements are met, and the adoption should be legally finalized.
How We Can Help You
Our experienced adoption attorneys at Brydon, Swearengen & England frequently represent families in adoptions throughout Mid-Missouri. Attorney Scott A. Hamblin regularly practices before the Judges and Courts that handle adoptions, ensuring a smooth process.
Let our adoption attorneys assist you with the legal representation and expertise you need, no matter what type of adoption you pursue. Contact our offices today.