Adoption

An adoption should be a joyous occasion as a family adds a new member and becomes whole.  Adoption is the process by which family members legally formalize the emotional and familial bonds they have already created.  A finalized adoption also creates a sense of comfort and security for the entire family, giving both the parents and the child a sense of permanency and belonging.  It is usually the final piece of parents securing their legal rights and obligations to a child so that they can make decisions concerning the child’s health, safety, and other aspects of the child’s wellbeing.  However, adoption law is a highly specialized and complex field to navigate.  The adoption laws of Kentucky and Ohio must be strictly adhered to for the adoption to be valid.  Even a small mistake could leave the adoption open to an attack from the biological parents, giving them the opportunity to have the adoption overturned.  An improperly performed adoption can be traumatic for everyone involved:  the adoptive parents, the biological parents, and especially the children.  While adoption laws were written to safeguard the parties to the adoption, sloppy legal work could have the opposite effect.  You need an attorney intimate with adoption law to protect you and your family. 

All adoptions are as unique as the families they create.  As a result, adoptions often have too many moving parts for a private party or an attorney unfamiliar with the adoption process to successfully navigate on their own.  An attorney familiar with adoption law knows not only the specifics of adoption law as applied to all adoptions, but also that there are laws that apply only to specific types of adoptions.  Necessary documents, information, and parties may be required based on a wide variety of factors. There may need to a be preliminary hearings before a final date can be set.  An attorney will be able to get your case before the court for any hearings to get the adoption going forward in a timely manner.  Also, it may be necessary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or a private adoption agency to submit documentation for the adoption to be finalized.  An attorney familiar with adoption law is usually able to speedup this process in a way that a private party may not be able to accomplish on their own. The child may also have to have another legal representative, known as a guardian ad litem, appointed to protect that child’s interests.  An adoption attorney will know if the child needs this legal representative in order to make the adoption valid and will be able to communicate with that individual in order to speed up the process.  Finally, even when the adoption has been completed, a new birth certificate must be obtained for the child showing that you are the child’s parent.  The forms necessary to complete that process can be obtained for you and sent out for you by an attorney.  From dealings with the court, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or a private agency, a guardian ad litem, and the Bureau of Vital Statistics, an adoption can be a daunting process. However, even though an adoption can be a difficult legal process to maneuver, it is some of the most rewarding and joyous work that an attorney can experience.

From your initial consultation to the entering of a final judgment of adoption, our office is here to guide you through the adoption process.  Our attorneys will take the stress and complexities of navigating the adoption process off of you so that you can focus on the joy of building your family as we ensure you are legally protected.  The Law Firm of M. Erin Wilkins has experience in foster child adoptions, stepparent adoptions, independent adoptions, foreign adoptions, and adoptions both with voluntary and involuntary termination of a biological parent’s rights. Please contact our firm for a consultation. 

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