An adoption is a most joyous occasion and should be relished by all involved without the stress and hassle of discovering and following all of the administrative and Judicial rules and procedures involved. Although there is not much in the way of Court activity in the typical private adoption, it is not uncommon. Many private placement adoptions, i.e., directly from the natural parent(s) of a child or children, to individuals known to the natural parent(s), involve the termination of parental rights of one natural parent, while the other parent consents to the adoption.
The typical private adoption consists of knowing what forms to complete, how to complete them, when to complete them and where to file them. If your particular situation requires additional Court action, such as the termination of parental rights, this should be included in the fees quoted before work is done by the attorney.
It is important to assess each Petition for Adoption on its own merits and facts. Sometimes, a review of the situation reveals that public benefits the child is receiving will no longer be available if the child is adopted, making the adoption financially unwise for the best interests of both the child and the adopting parents. In other cases, it may be the case that public benefits for the child are not available until the final Order of Adoption has been entered, such as in the case of VA and Social Security disability. In these latter cases, speed is of the essence and you will not want to be slowed by your unfamiliarity with the forms and procedures involved.
It is most often the case, that a change of name for the adopted person(s) will be desired and it will be necessary to secure the proper Court Order, so that your post-adoption request to the Department of Vital Statistics, for changes to the adopted child’s or children’s birth certificate(s), is met with a timely and favorable response.
Name changes may also be sought in the event of a divorce or just because an individual desires to be known by a different moniker.
Although it is not strictly required that an attorney be retained to assist with the typical adoption or name change, it is advisable so as to insure that you “have all your ducks in a row” and that it is the right thing to do. People are often intimidated by the number of forms and the volume of information that is requested in them, not to mention the stress of having to interact with the Court system on one’s own. I have handled numerous private party adoptions and name changes in the course of my thirty plus years in private practice and am ready to review your particular situation to insure that no needed benefits are lost and that the Adoption(s) and/or name change(s) proceed(s) smoothly and in a timely fashion.