An adoption attorney is a type of lawyer specializing in adoption law. These attorneys guide adopting families and birth parents through the adoption process. Let’s take a closer look at what an adoption attorney does, when to hire one, and how to find the right attorney.
What does an adoption attorney do?
Adoption attorneys work to help families through the adoption process. Ultimately, adoption attorneys aim to facilitate a finalized, legal adoption.
Adoption attorneys offer a wide range of legal services and advice for prospective families. Some of these services include:
- Identifying a reputable adoption agency or private adoptee
- Preparing and reviewing paperwork
- Facilitating your background check
- Preparing you for your home study
- Negotiating the terms of the adoption
- Handling legal disputes or conflicts
- Arranging reimbursements for birth expenses, per state law
- Communicating with adoption agencies
- Understanding and explaining local, state, federal, and international adoption laws
Finally, an adoption attorney can help smooth the complexities of the adoption process. Instead of managing the steps entirely yourself, you’ll have an experienced, trustworthy guide.
When should you hire an adoption attorney?
With a few exceptions, you’ll need to hire an attorney to finalize almost every adoption. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to hire a reputable adoption attorney as soon as possible to avoid any misunderstandings or legal missteps in the early stages of the adoption process. Doing so may speed up your adoption, which is invaluable in circumstances where time is of the essence.
Can you conduct an adoption without a lawyer?
In some rare cases, you may be able to complete an adoption without a lawyer. For instance, you might be able to finalize the step-parent adoption process without one. However, you’ll need an attorney if you plan to adopt an unrelated child.
How much does an adoption lawyer cost?
Adoption attorney fees can vary widely based on your location, the attorney you hire, and the type of adoption you pursue. For example, the cost of court representation could be more than $10,000. On the other hand, you may only have to pay a flat fee of a few hundred dollars for simple document preparation and review.
How to find an adoption attorney
Finding a reputable, experienced adoption attorney is crucial — but it isn’t always easy. To identify the most qualified candidates, you may consider:
- Asking other adoptive families for recommendations
- Asking your agency for referrals
- Visiting your state bar association’s website and searching for local attorneys
- You may also get in touch with your human resources department to inquire about a legal insurance benefit.
Legal insurance is a type of voluntary coverage that connects you with a network of experienced attorneys for a low monthly premium. Through your legal insurance plan, you may be able to hire an adoption attorney and have their fees partially or fully covered, making the adoption process more affordable.
Get one step closer to expanding your family with an adoption attorney
Adoption attorneys play a key role in the adoption process. Whether you’ve just begun to consider adoption or are approaching your new child’s homecoming, an experienced attorney can provide the insight you need to finalize the process as soon as possible.