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The ABC’s of Adoption

April 13, 2017

Learn how HoganWillig works to bring families together through the adoption process

Happy endings don’t always accompany legal processes, however, there is one instance when it’s natural to see broad smiles leaving the courtroom; adoptions.

Adoption is the legal process in which a person or persons assume legal rights of a child or children. Here, at HoganWillig, we have a handful of attorneys handling all different kinds of adoptions to help bring families together, whether they’re blood-related or not.

The most common form of adoption is the process of a stepparent adopting their stepchild or stepchildren. Once a petition is filed, the other biological parent must be notified of the pending adoption. If there is no objection and assuming the other parent has been absent for at least a portion of the child’s life, the process is relatively quick and the stepparent can ultimately obtain legal parental rights, according to Erica Zeis, a Matrimonial and Family Law attorney with HoganWillig.

If the other biological parent chooses to object, this could lead to a trial inside a courtroom. However, if a parent has failed to maintain a relationship with the child for a period of six months or more, consent is not needed from the other biological parent. Consent is required if the other parent has maintained a relationship with the child.

Other types of adoption include foreign adoptions, agency adoptions, and adult adoptions. Foreign adoptions take the longest amount of time and resources while adult adoptions are handled much more swiftly because consent is already there.
“The international agencies can charge upwards of $20,000 to $30,000 because it’s not just about bringing the child here, it’s about establishing their citizenship,” Zeis said.

Stepparent and agency adoptions costs can vary case by case, but are not nearly as expensive as foreign adoptions and should only take between 3 to 6 months to complete legally. There’s no reason an adoption case should take longer than a year unless the other biological parent objects the petition.

Once it’s time to meet with the judge on “Adoption Day,” the case is almost over leaving room for growing families and smiles.
“Seeing how happy the families are at the end of the day, now that they are legally together, is my favorite part. I love seeing the children smile, especially those from foreign adoptions. And, witnessing the dynamic with an adopted child’s new siblings is just wonderful,” Zeis said.

If you’re looking for legal assistance with a foreign adoption, a stepparent adoption, an adult adoption, or an agency adoption, HoganWillig would be more than happy to help grow your family.