For many couples, adoption is the only way to have children. There are many issues surrounding adoption. Whether you are someone who wants to adopt a child or are someone who wants to place a child up for adoption, the first step to take is to consult with an experienced New Hampshire family law attorney. An attorney who is knowledgeable about adoption will be able to assist you throughout the process and help ensure that the entire procedure is done within the legal guidelines. In New Hampshire, as in many other states, there are laws that specifically address adoption. The laws may be rather complex so it is important to seek help from a lawyer with experience in adoptions.
Adoption laws are in place in order to protect children and adults in providing a responsible way to care for adoptive children, adoptive parents, and birth parents. During the adoption process, the laws help to make sure that the child is properly cared for and the adoption is done in a responsible manner. It also ensures that the birth parents are properly informed of their rights and that the adoption is completed in a manner that is not coerced or forced in any way. After the adoption is complete, the laws ensure that parents have an undisturbed relationship with their adoptive child to maintain a healthy stable environment for the child. Most importantly, the laws protect adoptive children since they are not able to protect their own rights through the process.
Understanding the Terms of Adoption
There are many terms that are used in the legal area of adoption. It is important to understand what is meant when specific terms are used.
Birth mother – The woman who gestates an embryo through any means including insemination, in vitro fertilization, preembryo transfer or through natural means.
Child – A son or daughter by either birth or adoption
Guardian – A legal appointee of the court to ensure that the rights of the child are protected.
Parent – A mother, father, or adoptive parent unless the parental rights have been legally surrendered.
Surrender – The release of parental rights including care, custody and control of a minor child by a parent, legal guardian, or agency.
Prospective adoptive parent – A petitioner that is named on an adoption petition that has been filed in court.
If you are considering adoption you will want to learn these and other terms associated with the process. Your lawyer will be able to answer any questions you may have and will guide you through the legal process of adoption. Adoption can be rather complex but is made easier with the help of a New Hampshire family law attorney.
Surrender of Parental Rights
If a parent agrees to surrender his or her parental rights it must be done using a legal process. The parent must be represented by an attorney unless the parent waives this right. The parent cannot be represented by the same attorney as the agency uses. The parent must sign or execute the document in the presence of the court or a representative of the court. The parent surrendering rights must file information with the court that details the age and personal and medical backgrounds of the birth parents and child. It can also include ethnic and religious backgrounds if they are known. If the birth parent is a minor (under the age of 18) the court may require the signature of the parent’s parent or legal guardian. The agency involved in the adoption must also sign the adoption paperwork. If the parent is a resident of a different state, they must follow the guidelines for that particular state. Neither the birth parents or the adoptive parents need to be disclosed to each other.
Adopting a Child
If you are considering adopting a child you will want to seek some guidance from a knowledgeable New Hampshire family law attorney. It is best to get your attorney involved as early in the process as possible. Your lawyer will understand the laws as they pertain to the adoption and will do everything possible to ensure that the adoption is completed legally. Your lawyer will also be available to answer any of your questions and will serve as a contact when necessary. It is essential that you follow the laws during an adoption because you certainly don’t want to have problems later on. It isn’t enough to rely on what the adoption agency tells you – you should still hire your own attorney to represent your interests in the case.
Payment for Expenses
In an adoption, the adoptive parents may pay for the expenses related to the birth mother and child prior to and throughout the birth. These expenses may include reasonable medical and legal fees required to carry out the adoption as well as counseling that may be required. The adoptive parents may also be expected to pay for transportation costs, meals, and lodging when the birth mother must travel. Additionally, some living expenses may be paid to the birth mother such as rent payments, food, or lost wages due to the pregnancy.
Petition for Adoption
The adoption process requires a petition be filed. After the petition is filed the court will set a hearing date and time. The agency involved in the adoption as well as a representative of both the birth parents and the adoptive parents will be present at the hearing. Before the hearing, the court will require that an assessment is made to ensure that the adoptive home is suitable for the child. The adoptive parents must be able to provide a home and all the essentials necessary for raising a child. The courts are always making sure that they act in the best interest of the child. To make sure that your rights are protected you’ll want a qualified New Hampshire family law attorney to handle your case from start to finish. This will ensure that everything is covered and the adoption is being handled legally.
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