If you are seeking to adopt, it can be a challenge to navigate the system. This is true whether you do a private adoption or go through a state agency. In either case, the adoption process is heavily regulated in New Jersey. However, a dedicated family attorney could advise you on the legal nuances and help avoid setbacks.
The skill and experience of a Maplewood adoption lawyer could be crucial in successfully navigating the process. At the Williams Law Group, LLC, we have helped many prospective parents reach positive outcomes in their adoption journeys.
Although there are many legal requirements in the New Jersey process, it is possible for virtually anyone in the state to be adopted. While small children typically come to mind when most people think of adoption, adults may also be adopted under state law.
There are some age-related restrictions during the adoption process. While an adult may be adopted, the law requires that the person petitioning to adopt them be at least ten years older. Additionally, the person petitioning to adopt must be at least 18 years of age.
There is also a consent element involved in many adoption cases. If the adoption proceedings involve an adult that is married, their spouse must consent in order for the adoption to take place. However, the court has the power to waive this requirement for good cause. For children aged ten or older, the court will take into account if they consent to the adoption or not. A knowledgeable local attorney could offer further advice on these requirements in the adoption process.
Any time a couple or single adult petitions to adopt a child, they must demonstrate that they are fit to serve as parents. This is done through something known as a home study. A home study is a tool used by state agents to assess the prospective parent’s preparedness and capacity. During the home study, an agent will conduct a review to determine if the proposed home for the children is safe and conducive to their health.
Home studies typically include a series of interviews. These interviews involve not only the adoptive parents but also any other family members that live in the house. In some cases, an interview may also be conducted with neighbors. Additionally, a home study could involve a health assessment of the prospective parents as well as verification of employment. An adoption lawyer in Maplewood could help adoptive parents prepare for a home study.
The records of adoption are not considered public. Once the adoption is completed, the state will seal the adoption records as well as the original birth certificate. While it is possible to unseal these records at a later date, it will take a decision by the court to do so. A Maplewood adoption attorney at the Williams Law Group, LLC could assist with this process.
For adults who have been adopted, it is possible to obtain a non-certified copy of the original birth certificate. A birth parent may also file a notice with the state signifying their preference to have contact with the adopted child should they ever seek out their birth parents.
Adoption can be a long, drawn-out process, but a positive outcome can be one of the most fulfilling moments of a prospective parent’s life. If you are considering this journey, let a Maplewood adoption lawyer guide you from start to finish. At the Williams Law Group, LLC, our legal team is experienced in the legal proceedings and could answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today.