Adoptions require the following documents to be filed with the Court. Let us guide you:
- Petition for Adoption.
- A certified copy of the birth certificate or other record of the date and place of birth of the child.
- Consent of the natural parent or permanent relinquishment of parental rights and a certified copy of any court order terminating the parental rights of the minor’s parents or guardian.
- A certified copy of any existing court order or the petition in any pending proceeding concerning custody of or visitation with the minor.
- A copy of a home study performed on the adoptive parents.
- Certificate of Medical and Social History. A verified document stating that the adoptive parents have been furnished a copy of the medical and social history report.
- The name and address, if known, of any person who is entitled to receive notice of the proceeding for adoption.
- The affidavit of expenditures in the adoption case by the adoptive parents.
- A copy of the medical and social history report.
- State criminal background check, national fingerprint-based criminal background check.
- Search of child abuse and neglect files maintained by the Department of Human Services.
We can fill out the forms and make the process easy for you.
If the child’s parent(s) will not consent to the child being adopted and relinquishment of their parental rights, it will be necessary to file an application to the Court requesting that the adoption proceed without the consent of the natural parent.
The Court will set the matter for a hearing and the child’s natural parent(s) must be given notice of the hearing date.
There are multiple legal grounds for the Court to find a parent’s consent is not required. The two most common grounds are: (1) a parent’s willful failure to support the child for a period of twelve (12) consecutive months out of the last fourteen (14) months immediately preceding the date the Petition for Adoption was filed, and (2) the parent has failed to establish and/or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child.
Failure to support means: failure to pay court-ordered child support, or failure to support according to the parent’s financial ability to support (if there is no court order).
Failure to maintain a substantial and positive relationship means the parent: has not maintained frequent and regular contact with the minor through frequent and regular visitation or frequent and regular communication with the minor, or the parent has not exercised parental rights and responsibilities.
Once the Court determines the adoptive parents have met their legal burden for allowing the adoption to proceed without the consent of the natural parent(s), the adoption proceeds.
A second hearing will be necessary for the Court to determine the adoption to be in the child’s best interest. Some factors the Court will evaluate to determine best interest include:
- Child’s relationship with adoptive parents.
- Child’s relationship with natural parent’s family.
- Who the child has the strongest bond of love and affection to.
- Who has been the child’s primary caregiver.
- Who will provide stability/continuity to the child.
- Foreseeable risk of harm to a child.
- Most suitable custodian based on character, temperament.
- Interaction of child with adoptive parents.
Once the Court determines the adoption to be in the child’s best interest, the adoption must be finalized. This usually occurs at a finalization hearing. At that time, the parental rights of natural parent(s) are terminated, and the Decree of Adoption is entered.
We can lead you through the process. Strategically using an attorney for guidance and a paralegal for the details and paper work is the most cost-effective way to complete an adoption.