How Do I Know If I Need an Adoption Attorney?

A man holds a little girl happily as a woman talks to a man in a suit in the background with smiles on their faces- adoption lawyer

If you’re thinking about adoption, it’s important to be aware that there are many laws and regulations throughout the process. Not only is there a considerable amount of paperwork that must be completed, but there are a variety of complex legal matters you might encounter. While the procedures associated with adoption can often be overwhelming, it’s best to have an experienced adoption lawyer who can guide you through the legal framework.

What Does an Adoption Attorney Do?

An adoption attorney is a legal professional whose practice focuses on assisting families with all aspects of the adoption process. Although adoption can be emotional and overwhelming, an attorney can offer reassurance regarding the legal framework and provide skilled counsel if any issues come up.

Specifically, an adoption attorney can:

  • Lead the independent adoption process
  • Provide ongoing legal counsel
  • Draft documents
  • Prepare paperwork
  • Attend any necessary court appearances
  • Negotiate the terms of the adoption
  • Handle any disputes that arise

An adoption attorney can also help you gain legal guardianship of a child you are not the natural parent of. Critically, because adoption terminates the parental rights of the birth parent, working with an attorney can ensure that your rights as the adoptive parent will be protected. Having an adoption attorney on your side is especially important if a biological parent opposes the adoption.

The Importance of Working With an Adoption Attorney

Although it isn’t legally required that you hire an attorney to go through the adoption process, there are many advantages to having one by your side. Even if you are working with The Department of Human Services, an adoption attorney can review and explain the documents necessary to complete the adoption to make sure your interests are protected. Since each case is different, an attorney can assess your specific situation to ensure all legal requirements are met.

With an independent adoption, the birth parent places the child directly with the adoptive parents. Notably, before signing the surrender, release, and consent to adoption and certificate of irrevocability, a birth mother can change her mind at any point in the adoption process. But once these documents have been executed, the consent may only be challenged by proving fraud or duress. This is why it is vital to work with counsel who can safeguard your rights and assist with drafting a legally sound adoption agreement in an independent adoption.

If your adoption involves an American Indian child, the laws can become even more complex. Under the Indian Child Welfare Act, there are specific laws that must be followed and documentation that must be submitted to tribal authorities. Similarly, if you are adopting a child from a foreign nation or a Hague Convention country, there are certain international regulations of which to be aware. An adoption attorney will know the applicable legal requirements based on your circumstances.

Is it Expensive to Hire an Adoption Lawyer?

Many families may be concerned about the cost of hiring an adoption attorney. While the cost of adoption can vary greatly based upon whether you are adopting internationally, independently, or through the Department of Human Services, the cost of legal representation will depend upon the complexity of the case. Since any errors made can be costly and potentially result in additional expenses, it’s essential to have a skilled adoption attorney by your side from the very beginning to ensure the adoption is carried out and finalized correctly.

Contact an Experienced Oregon Adoption Attorney

Adoption should be a joyful experience — and an experienced adoption lawyer can help reduce any stress that might come with trying to understand and navigate the process on your own. Based in Salem, Litowich Law works with families throughout Oregon regarding a wide array of adoption matters. Providing reliable representation and compassionate counsel, we welcome you to contact us for a consultation to learn how we can help.

Categories: Adoption