Adoption is often a challenging process fraught with many obstacles and legal issues. Fortunately, representation by an experienced family lawyer can ensure that your adoption is legally binding to remove any future concerns.
Having a knowledgeable and skilled Chattanooga adoption lawyer by your side may be critical to your ability to efficiently complete the process. By strictly following the necessary procedures, legal counsel may be able to help you expedite the process and ensure your goals are met.
Adoption is a court process that both terminates the parental rights of biological parents and allows non-biological parents to obtain legal custody of the child. In many cases, biological parents consent to an adoption, but in other scenarios, their consent is not mandatory. If a court finds that adoption is in the best interests of a child, that court may have the authority to terminate the rights of the biological parents and grant the adoption.
Once a court has approved, the adoptive parents have the same legal rights and responsibilities for the child as they would for a biological child. Likewise, the child is entitled to the same rights and benefits as a biological child from their adoptive parents. The state issues an updated birth certificate for the child that names the adoptive parents as the legal parents of the child.
Adoptions can take various forms, some of which involve preexisting relationships, and others of which do not. For instance, one common type is stepparent adoption. In most cases, the child already lives with a biological parent and stepparent and has done so for an extended period, so the adoption is a legal formality that reinforces their existing relationship.
Relatives also may adopt children in some cases, such as when their biological parents are unable to take care of them. This process may occur as a result of involvement by the state concerning abuse or neglect to the child or may result from a private agreement among grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, or others.
Several other types of adoptions are available as well, including international adoptions of children from different countries and private adoptions that occur with the help of agencies. Parents with fertility challenges also may adopt a child carried by a surrogate. A skilled attorney in Chattanooga could assist with any of these types of adoption to ensure their legal validity.
There are statutes that lay out the rules a parent must follow to complete an adult adoption. The main issue is whether or not the adult consents.
A family might be considering adult adoption if there is a young adult who has had a father or a mother that has been absent, and the other parent is remarried to a person who has played the role of parent for the young adult and wants to make it official and have that person listed as their father on their birth certificate.
An adoption always involves the termination of the parental rights of one or both biological parents. In a stepparent adoption, the biological parent married to the stepparent retains all legal parental rights, but the rights of the other biological parent are terminated. In other cases, termination of the parental rights of both biological parents may occur.
Biological parents may sign a document to indicate their consent, which can streamline and simplify the process. Some situations, however, require the involuntary termination of parental rights. This type of termination could occur through separate court proceedings related to the abuse and neglect of children, or through the usual adoption proceedings.
If biological parents do not agree, there are specific situations in which the adoption may proceed without the consent of the biological parents. For instance, if a biological parent has failed to support or visit with the child, the consent of that parent may be unnecessary. An adoption lawyer in Chattanooga, Tennessee, could evaluate a prospective adoption and advise all parties of the legal requirements to carry out the process.
A child may be adopted without their birth parents’ consent. The most common grounds for a termination of parental rights case is when one parent has abandoned the child under law. Abandonment is defined as a parent who has not visited and/or paid any financial support to the child for a period of four months. If a party can prove that the parent abandoned the child, the child could be adopted without the consent of the other parent.
Adoption can be a life-changing experience for many families. However, the process also can be extremely time-consuming, stressful, and emotional. A Chattanooga adoption lawyer could help answer your questions and ease your fears as you work toward the completion of the process.
No matter what path toward adoption you choose to follow, you may be able to navigate that path more easily with the assistance of legal counsel. Call today to start seeking out the information and legal advice that you and your family may need.
By: Whitney I.
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