Adoption Lawyers & Attorneys in Alabama
Adoption is the act by which an adult formally becomes the guardian of a child and incurs the rights and responsibilities of a parent. The legal relationship results in the adoptee (the child) becoming the legal heir of the adopting parents and terminates any legal rights the biological parents have. If the biological parents consent, then step-parent adoption can be the simplest type of adoption that there is. There is usually only a hearing or two and since no one is objecting, the court typically streamlines these to make it as easy as possible to complete the adoption. Our local adoption attorneys are currently charging $1200 flat fees to file such step-parent adoptions. There are also filing fees and other additional fees involved in the process, which vary from county to county. Give our adoption lawyers in Birmingham and the surrounding areas of Jefferson and Shelby County a call today to find out the total costs where you live for retaining an adoption lawyer in Alabama.
Adopting a child can be a very rewarding experience. However, there are a few preliminary requirements all prospective parents must meet:
- You must be over 19 years of age.
- If married, marriage must be of at least 3 years duration.
- If a married couple, one must be a U.S. citizen
- You must have adequate housing & personal space for the child or children adopted.
- You must be healthy enough to meet a child’s needs.
- You must be willing to undergo a thorough background check, including criminal history.
There are several common types of adoption: Domestic Agency Adoption, International Adoption, and Foster Care Adoption. Domestic Agency Adoptions are agencies located in the United States. They typically provide all the services needed to complete an adoption. These services include counseling for the birth parents and adoptive parents, counseling for pregnant women, financial protection for adoptive parents, and referrals to legal and other professionals for assistance. Since each state has slightly different laws related to adoptions, make sure if you use a domestic agency outside Alabama that they are aware you are a resident of Alabama as that may affect some situations. Having an adoption attorney in Alabama help you with the process is usually recommended.
International adoption is the process by which parents adopt a child from outside the United States. This process is also called “intercountry adoption.” How the adoption process works in this category largely depends on the laws of the country you are trying to adopt in. For instance, countries that are part of The Hague Adoption Convention will have policies that differ from countries that are not. If you decide to adopt a child from abroad, first you should decide which country you want to adopt from. Things to keep in mind are the current political climate in that country, your budget (costs can vary greatly), if you meet the qualifications to adopt from that country, the types of adoptions they offer in that country (e.g. infant vs. teenager, boy vs. girl availability), and the culture of the country.
Next, you will need to find an international adoption agency in Alabama. Be sure to find a reputable one and if possible talk to parents who have already adopted internationally to see which agency they used. Before you can adopt, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Department will need to verify that you are eligible to adopt. If you get matched with a child, you will need to travel to the child’s home country and be prepared to stay there for four weeks. During those four weeks, you will get to know your child, complete your visa application, and fill out forms for Alabama’s international adoption process. Before you leave the country you will have an interview with their adoption authorities to ensure you meet the requirements for adoption. Once you get back to Alabama, you will need to fill out more visa forms to finalize the adoption in Alabama. If you need an adoption attorney in Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston, Decatur, Huntsville, Prattville, or Alabaster give our Alabama adoption lawyers and family law attorneys a call today for more information and a free consultation over the phone.
The last common type of adoption is foster care adoption. Most foster children in Alabama are eventually reunited with their biological family. However, roughly 20 percent of children in foster care become eligible for adoption in Alabama. Foster care adoptions are handled through the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). You will need to fill out an applications to Foster and Adopt. You will then be contacted by DHR and go through their screening process. This process includes Trauma-Informed Pre-Service meetings and a home study to see what kind of environment you can offer a child. After a child has been placed in your home successfully for at least three months, you can move forward in the adoption process to ask the court to finalize your adoption in Alabama. Let our adoption attorneys in Alabama help you and your family with the process today.
Step-Parent and Uncontested Adoption
If an adoption is agreed to by everyone, including biological parents, then you can usually do so fairly easily. Sometimes step-parents adopt when the biological father consents. This step-parent adoption is not as complex and our adoption lawyers in Alabama are currently charging a low flat attorney fee of $1200 plus filing fees and other costs. In step parent adoptions there is a filing fee, that varies depending on the county you are filing in. There are also fees for home inspections and other such costs that are in addition to our attorney fees. The child will have to reside at the prospective parents home for a while and before being placed there, there is usually a home inspection of some kind ordered by the court. In step parent adoptions, the process is streamlined since the child has usually been living with the prospective parents already and the biological parents are consenting.
These types of adoptions done by agreement can usually be done for much cheaper than if the parents are not in agreement. This is why we are able to charge the flat fee in these cases and not the normal $1500 to $2500 or more retainer our adoption lawyer in Alabama usually requires in other types of adoptions. If the adoption is not by agreement of the biological parents then there are many more hearings involved. If it is contested then it means there will be hearings to either terminate the biological father’s rights or determine the parent unfit so they can adopt. If you are interested in adopting a child and need to speak with an adoption attorney in Madison County or anywhere else we have an office then call us today for more information.