Dedicated Bergen County Adoption Lawyer
Experienced Englewood Adoption Attorneys
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 experienced adoption 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.
Trying to expand your family through adoption in New Jersey? Reach out to the experienced adoption attorneys at the Englewood office of Herbert & Weiss at (201) 500-2151 or contact our firm online to schedule a consultation today!
What Are the 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 in New Jersey. 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:
- Child abuse
- 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 New Jersey 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.
New Jersey Adoption Home Study Requirements
Clients seeking to adopt are often overly concerned about one particular step in the process: the home study. Below, we demystify the home study process for individuals and couples seeking to adopt. If you are interested in adopting a child in New Jersey, speak with our knowledgeable and compassionate Englewood adoption attorneys today.
What is a Home Study?
The home study process is an opportunity for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P), or a licensed state-approved private agency to learn about the home of prospective adoptive families, as well as for the families to learn about the adoption process and the agency.
The process includes the following steps:
- Interviews & home visits. DCP&P agents or representatives from the private agency will visit the homes of prospective parents and interview each of the family members. The home visits will include individual and joint interviews of prospective family members as well as safety inspections of the home.
- References and background checks. The agency will collect references as part of the home study to ensure that the prospective parents are fit to care for adoptive children. The agency will collect personal, employment, educational, child care, and medical references, among others. They will also conduct a criminal background check and review any child abuse records on any adults over 18 living in the home.
- Approval process & licensing. After the home study, background checks, and application documentation are taken care of, the agency will send a licensing inspector to the home to ensure that all licensing safety requirements have been met. Following the completion of the licensing visit, parents will receive approval to adopt.
Talk to a seasoned New Jersey adoption lawyer about your interest in adoption to get started on the process, ensure your eligibility, and take your first steps toward sharing the love your family has to provide.
Can You Adopt Someone Over the Age of 18 in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, it is possible to adopt someone who is over the age of 18. Adoption by adults involves petitioning a court for an adoption order. Adoptive parents can file an involuntary or voluntary adoption petition.
For adoption to be granted, all petitions must be approved by the court, regardless of whether the individual being adopted is a blood relative or married to the adoptive parent. The adoption process generally requires consent from an individual over 18 years old, as well as proof that they understand the adoption process.
If you are considering adopting an adult over the age of 18 in New Jersey, it is highly recommended you seek legal guidance from an experienced Englewood adoption attorney to ensure all requirements are met according to state laws.
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.
For more information on adoption in Bergen County, read our helpful blog:
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