Fort Lauderdale Adoption Attorneys
Adoption is a highly emotional and highly sensitive process that has a major impact on the lives of everyone involved. It is also a process that is strongly wrapped up with the law—anyone who hopes to adopt a child is likely going to need an attorney.
Even if every aspect of an adoption goes exactly as planned, there are a lot of official procedures that must be completed and standards that must be met. Having an attorney to rely on for advice, assistance, and advocacy is often essential.
A lawyer becomes even more important when adoption issues arise, as they commonly do. For reasons that can be heartbreaking for both prospective parents and children, adoptions are often derailed unexpectedly. An attorney becomes an invaluable asset when the fate of your family in on the line.
When to Hire an Attorney
If you become involved in the adoption process in any capacity, it is wise to seek out an attorney as soon as possible. At the very least, you will want to ensure you are not making mistakes or overlooking details that could come back to haunt you later.
The state laws in Florida are different depending on the nature of the adoption:
- Stepparent adoption: This type of adoption is very common, which is why the state laws have expedited the amount of time it takes. Parents may be able to avoid the home study requirement, which can speed up the process significantly. If you are a stepparent wanting to legally adopt a stepchild, a lawyer can help you get the process moving forward.
- Relative adoption: When possible, the court prefers when a relative adopts a child who needs a home. They have expedited the adoption requirements for the adoption of a nephew, grandchild, or close family member.
- Newborn adoption: If you have made arrangements to adopt the newborn or infant child of a mother who wishes to relinquish parental rights, you will need to follow certain procedures. An attorney can help to ensure that everything is above board while taking steps to protect the child and adoptive parents.
- Same-sex adoption: Even though same-sex adoption is completely legal in the state of Florida, the process can be more complicated than some other types of adoptions. Same-sex couples who want to adopt are encouraged to explore their options with the help of a lawyer.
- Foster child adoption: It is often the kids in the foster care system who are the most in need of a home. Since these children have a complicated status in the eyes of the state, it is preferable to have an attorney handle the legal requirements.
- Interstate adoption: Meeting the adoption standards set by two different states only makes the process that much more confusing and ripe for error. Someone with experience handling this process can help to eliminate a lot of confusion and frustration.
- International adoption: This option remains a popular one for a lot of families, but the legal hurdles that must be cleared can be substantial. A lawyer with a wide-ranging background is a big help.
- Assisted adoption: There may be financial assistance available to some adoptive parents through various grants and programs. Working with a professional can help these parents to resolve the financial stress placed on a new family.
When you start searching for a lawyer, you will quickly discover that there are a lot of options. When so much is depending on the outcome of the adoption decision, you will not want to work with the loudest or cheapest attorney you can find.
Look for these qualities in the attorney you want to work with:
- Committed: The adoption process can be riddled with setbacks. Your attorney should be flexible enough to respond and committed enough to keep fighting on your behalf.
- Careful: Adoption involves a lot of paperwork and more than a few complex bureaucracies. You want your lawyer to have impeccable attention to detail and a careful approach to each step in the adoption process.
- Caring: Adoption is high stakes, and emotions run high throughout the process. A good attorney understands the feelings of adoptive parents, as well as the needs of kids, and does everything possible to respect both.
The sooner you reach out to a lawyer, the sooner you can start getting quality information and actionable advice.