Our Adoption Lawyers in Maryland Work through the Process with You
Adoption can be a wonderful way to bring a new child into your life, or to make a child who is already special to you a legal part of your family. But many couples are discouraged from pursuing adoption after hearing of the lengthy struggles undertaken by other families to successfully resolve an adoption.
The laws governing adoption can be complex in order to protect the interests of all parties involved – the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and of course the child being adopted.
An experienced adoption lawyer can help you navigate these laws, making the process of bringing your adopted child home much less stressful for all concerned.
There are many different types of adoptions, each with its own unique set of circumstances and rules associated with it. Whether you are adopting a baby or an older child, seeking an in-state adoption or an international one, your adoption lawyer can help you handle the details and minimize the delays and stresses that make it harder to bond with your child.
Often when a divorced parent remarries, the new spouse takes on many parental responsibilities for their partner’s children, and it can be easier for the family if the law recognizes them as a legal parent.
With the help of an adoption lawyer, many couples pursue step-parent adoption to cement this parental relationship. Though this is one of the simplest types of adoption available, complications may still arise depending on whether the non-custodial parent is willing to give consent to the adoption and surrender their parental rights and responsibilities.
If the non-custodial parent refuses to cooperate, you still have options, and your lawyer for adoption can give you the information you need to pursue them.
- If the non-custodial parent consents to the adoption: The non-custodial parent surrenders their parental rights and is relieved of any child support obligations. In these cases, things usually go smoothly; an lawyer can help handle any paperwork issues with the State.
- If the non-custodial parent cannot be located, or refuses to give their consent: This is where an lawyer becomes truly valuable to the parents trying to bring the adoption forward. If it can be proven that the non-custodial parent has abandoned the child by failing to offer emotional or financial support of any kind for a period exceeding six months, or otherwise left the child in the custodial parent’s care for that length of time without any provisions for contact or financial support, Maryland law considers this to be implied consent to the relinquishment of parental rights. An experienced lawyer can help you present this claim to the courts.
Open vs. Closed Adoption
Open adoptions are becoming an increasingly common phenomenon, as a child’s birth parents may not be in a position to raise and care for the child, but still desire to have some connection and be part of his or her life. Open adoptions can also benefit the child as well, as the child’s birth family medical history can be made available and kept current, and the child will not grow up with uncertainty and questions about the circumstances that led to their adoption. Not all birth parents seek open adoptions, and if the adoptive parents are uncomfortable with an open adoption arrangement, closed adoptions remain regularly available.
An open adoption in Maryland involves a legal contract that stipulates the type of contact and involvement the birth parent(s) may have with the child: face-to-face meetings, contact with the adoptive parents only, contact through a third party, letters and photographs, or any other arrangement the birth and adoptive parents agree on. An adoption lawyer plays a vital role in drawing up these requirements, both in negotiations between the families and in ensuring that your family’s rights are protected under the language of the contract.
If your family is considering an international adoption, an adoption lawyer is essential, whether you are adopting a baby or an older child. International adoptions often entail a great deal of bureaucracy and regulations for the protection of the child and the birth family, especially if the child’s country of origin is a participant in the Hague Adoption Convention.
A lawyer can help you understand what to expect, and tell you what costs and requirements are associated with foreign adoption. Because the adoptive parent must comply with the adoption laws of the child’s country of origin, having a lawyer help you navigate these overseas regulations is the best way to avoid unnecessary snags and delays.
Many families who consider international adoption have concerns about the possibility of child abduction and trafficking in their adoptee’s country of origin; your adoption lawyer can help you learn about your child’s background, to ensure that they truly need a home.
Contact Our Adoption Lawyers to Start the Process
If you’re ready to adopt, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Houlon Berman for help navigating the process. We can ease the process by providing the support and insight you need to move the adoption forward efficiently. Schedule your consultation today.
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