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A Simple Breakdown of the Legal Issues Surrounding Adoption

Jun 26, 2014

Understanding adoption laws can be confusing and frustrating. According to state laws, there are a few variations in legal requirements for adoption.  Working with an adoption attorney or agency will better help you understand the process. Here are important considerations to think about with the legal process of adoption.

Sometimes people worry whether or not they will be able to adopt if they are not married. In the state of California, the only requirement for a legal adoption is that the adoptive parent must be at least ten years older than the child.  This makes it possible for a single person to adopt or for a married or unmarried couple to adopt.  According to adoption attorney Stephen Ravel there are some states where gay and lesbian parents are not allowed to adopt, but in many states gay and lesbian parents are welcomed just as any other prospective parent or couple.  Also, in some states unmarried couples are not allowed to adopt, but in many progressive states unmarried couples and singles are gladly considered as adoptive parents.  Ravel suggests checking the local state laws where you live to determine eligibility for adoption. 

Ravel says some biological and adoptive parents work with a lawyer, and others choose to work with an agency.  The agency works to ensure the rights of the biological mother are upheld and work as a sort of liaison between the biological and adoptive parents.  An adoption lawyer generally works on behalf of the client.  The client, or would-be adoptive parent(s), will hire a lawyer to represent them and to help them achieve and be approved for an adoption, as well as assisting with all the legal work and processes that adoption entails.  In general, the agency represents the mother and the lawyer represents the prospective adoptive parents.

Adoptive parents are sometimes fearful there is a chance the birth mother will change her mind and try to take the baby back after an adoption has been conducted.  As an adoption attorney, Ravel says he has seen about 5% of situations in which the birth mother has changed her mind about giving her child up for adoption, and this is generally in the earlier stages of pregnancy or immediately after she gives birth in the hospital.  The role of the attorney is to represent the clients and ensure that once the child is placed in the care of the adoptive family, that the biological mother will not come back to take back the child.  In his 15 years of practice, Revel has not had a birth mother change her mind and try to get the child back after the child had already been placed with the adoptive parents.  Also, the job of the attorney is to protect the adoptive parents if this situation were to occur, and to ensure the adoptive parents have full legal rights and custodies of the child as soon as the child is adopted.


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My husband is an adoption attorney and I have seen how long of a process it can be. But this is some really great information on how it all happens.

There is a lot of legal jargon surrounding adoption and that's why it is always good to have an attorney explain everything to you.

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