The decision to adopt a child may be one of the most meaningful choices you ever make. Bringing a child into your lives or creating a legal bond with a child already in your care can be life altering for your whole family. However, the preparation and legal requirements surrounding the adoption process can be complicated and intimidating.
Attorney Sara Doty understands how significant the decision to adopt is, and has the experience to guide you through the legal process. To help you get started down this rewarding road, call Huntsville adoption lawyer Sara Doty at 256-519-9970.
Guiding You Through Every Step of the Adoption Process
Attorney Sara Doty and her legal staff provide prompt, personal and focused attention to their clients seeking to adopt. They are dedicated to being there for these clients at every step in the adoption process.
Experience in Adoption Cases
Some of the adoption issues Mrs. Doty has assisted her clients with include:
Stepparent adoption: Stepparents often play a parental role to a child, but do not have the legal rights and decision-making power a legal parent would have. Stepparent adoption adds a legal bond to the emotional and familial bond a stepparent and stepchild have formed.
Relative adoption: Many Alabama children live with and are cared for by grandparents, older siblings, aunts and uncles and other relatives. Alabama law makes it easier for a closely related caretaker to adopt a child who has been living with him or her for at least a year.
Adoption of special needs children: Many children you might not think of as having special needs fall within this adoption category. A child may be considered “special needs” based on age, mental or physical disabilities, parental risk factors, or even the number of siblings in a family unit.
Adoption Changes Children’s Lives
At any time, there are hundreds of children in Alabama waiting for permanent homes. Adoption is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child, and that holds true whether you are adopting a stepchild or are interested in adopting a child unrelated to you or your spouse (should you be married). However, it is important that you have a clear understanding of the Alabama adoption process and the legal effect of adopting a child. An experienced adoption attorney can help ensure that your adoption moves forward as smoothly as possible, and that the terms are as beneficial as possible for your family.
Adoption Licensing Requirements
Of course, the state of Alabama and the agencies that assist in the adoption process want to ensure the best care possible for adopted children. Therefore, most adoptive parents must undergo evaluation. Some typical criteria for approval include:
- Being at least 19 years of age
- Completion of criminal background checks on all household members aged 19 or older
- Maintaining a stable family life
- Being of reasonably good health (this will be verified via medical forms)
- Providing character references
In addition, at least one of the prospective parents must be a U.S. citizen.
Exceptions to Adoption Licensing Requirements
Under certain circumstances, the State Office of Adoption may issue an exception to one or more of these requirements. This typically occurs when the family in question proves to be an exceptionally good option for placement of the child, despite failing to fulfill a particular requirement.
Requests for exceptions must be submitted in advance, and require the support of the child-placing agency or county processing the application. Thus, if you know that you don’t meet a particular requirement or are concerned that you may not fulfill all of the criteria, it is in your best interests to get help from an experienced adoption lawyer early in the process.
Stepparent adoptions are among the most common types of adoption in the state of Alabama. In a stepparent adoption case, the Petition for Adoption must be served on the child’s “other” biological parent. Ideally, the other parent will consent, clearing the way for the adoption. However, in many cases, it is possible to proceed with the adoption over the natural parent’s objections. An experienced adoption lawyer can be your best source of information about your options for pursuing stepparent adoption, with or without the consent of the other parent.
Relative and Grandparent Adoptions
Grandparent adoptions and other relative adoptions allow family members who are raising children informally or as guardians to legally cement their relationships, giving the children greater security and stability. Under Alabama law, relatives who have been caring for a child for year or more are exempt from parts of the pre-adoption investigation, allowing the adoption to move forward more quickly and easily. Working with a Huntsville adoption attorney can further smooth the process, moving you efficiently toward a successful adoption.
Give Your Family the Benefit of an Experienced Adoption Lawyer
Sara Doty, Attorney at Law, LLC, is an attorney second to none when it comes to knowledge of the adoption process and passion for her clients. If you are interested in adoption, why not walk that path with a compassionate and dedicated attorney who can help you understand the process and will keep you up to date? Sara Doty works hard to help ensure that her Huntsville-area clients receive the best outcome possible.
For more information about how to move forward with the adoption process in Alabama, contact Sara Doty, Attorney at Law, LLC, today! Call us for an initial consultation at 256-519-9970.