Dedicated New Jersey Adoption Lawyer
Not all families come together in the same manner. A growing number of families across the country are choosing to create or add to their family through adoption. Whether you are a same-sex couple having their first child, a single parent or couple looking to expand your family, or a stepparent taking making that final gesture to formalize your parental love, legal adoption is a wonderful option for millions of loving parents across the country. Adoption is also, however, a significant undertaking, with many financial and legal issues to work through.
The compassionate Englewood adoption attorneys at Herbert & Weiss are ready to help grandparents, stepparents, second parents, single parents, same-sex couples, opposite-sex couples, or any other prospective parents provide loving homes and stable families for their adoptive children. We are also available to help mothers and couples facing an unplanned pregnancy consider the best options for their unborn or newborn children. Our lawyers can work with you through the adoption process, help prepare you for the legal hoops and hurdles you must clear, and answer any questions you have throughout.
Requirements for Adoption in New Jersey
Any adult who is over the age of 18 and is at least ten years older than the prospective child may seek to adopt. The typical adoption process involves working with an approved adoption agency to vet the prospective family. The agency will conduct a home study investigation, which involves interviewing the adopting party or parties and inspecting their home to ensure that the child will be entering a loving and stable situation. The report will include a background check, looking for New Jersey State and federal criminal history for the parents and any other adults residing in the home, as well as any other indicators of a history of violence, child abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
A legal adoption in New Jersey requires a court proceeding. You or your attorney will file a Complaint for Adoption as well as additional pleadings such as a Consent or Affidavit of the Birth Mother, an Affidavit of Circumstances Surrounding Placement of a Child, and a proposed Judgment of Adoption. Notice of the adoption must be transmitted to the birth parents, even if they consent to the adoption, unless their rights were already terminated or surrendered in a previous proceeding. Once all of the documents have been properly filed and appropriate notice to relevant parties given, the court will hold a final hearing.
Your family law attorney will help you draft the required documents, gather the necessary paperwork and evidence to support your eligibility for adoption, and ensure that you complete all elements required for legal adoption.
Types of Adoption in New Jersey
There are a few different routes for adoption in New Jersey, and your dedicated family law attorney can help you determine which is the best for your circumstances and preferences. The venues for adoption in New Jersey include the following:
- Public Agency. Typically, this form of adoption involves foster child adoption through a public agency that is funded by the State of New Jersey or certain counties.
- Private Agency. Religious organizations, non-profits, and other organizations can become licensed with the state to handle adoptions and provide services throughout the adoption process. Working with private agencies can involve additional costs.
- Direct or Independent Adoption. Direct or independent adoption means you will work directly to adopt without the services of a public or private agency, such as if you already know the parents of the child whom you plan to adopt. It is vital to secure the help of a qualified New Jersey adoption lawyer to carry out this form of adoption in compliance with New Jersey regulations.
- Stepchild Adoption. Stepparents who play a significant parental role in a child’s life can choose to fully adopt, but there are still legal requirements that must be met. The child’s other biological, non-custodial parent must generally relinquish their parental rights.
- International or Foreign Adoption. You may seek to adopt a child from abroad. These types of procedures are complicated and difficult, involving immigration and other cross-border issues. Private adoption agencies may or may not be involved. Consult with an educated and knowledgeable adoption lawyer to work through the issues and legal requirements of a foreign adoption.
Contact Our Englewood Lawyers for Help with Adoption
Our New Jersey adoption lawyers are ready to help you with an adoption or answer any adoption-related questions you may have. You can count on our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys to find a practical and creative solution to your unique needs and to fight for what is best for your family. Call the Englewood office of Herbert & Weiss at 201-440-6300 for a telephone consultation about your needs.