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Who Is Eligible to Adopt?

Adoption depends on whether a prospective parent is eligible to adopt a child. Adoption eligibility laws may vary by state and the adoption is from an international agency, then the laws vary from country to country. In addition, certain agencies may have their own restrictions and regulations for prospective parents to be eligible to adopt a child.

In most cases any person can adopt so long as they maintain certain general guidelines such as:

  • Financially capable of supporting another person
  • Have saved enough money to cover the cost of the adoption
  • Of legal age and capable of making legal decisions
  • Generally good background (i.e., no serious criminal records)
  • Has a home that is safe and clean to accommodate the needs of a child
  • Are in good health with a good life expectancy

The adopting party can either be an individual or a married couple. The adoption process involves a thorough screening and background check process.

What Are Some Common Types of Adoption Disputes?

In many cases, the adoption process is smooth and doesn’t contain many legal issues or disputes. On the other hand, legal disputes can sometimes arise in the context of an adoption case. Some common types of adoption disputes include:

  • Disputes over the rights of the biological parents
  • Reversing an adoption decision
  • Questions regarding the mental/emotional stability or financial stability of the adopting parent
  • Interactions between the state and the adopting party
  • Disputes with adoption agencies

Adoption disputes often require intervention by social workers or other state agents. In the event of a dispute, a legal hearing may be necessary to resolve the dispute and clarify the issues at hand.

What Is Adoption Fraud?

Adoption fraud occurs when the adoption process includes any form of misrepresentation, deceit, or false representation. Adoption fraud can come in many forms, and may be perpetrated by various parties, including: birth parents; adoption agencies; state social workers; biological parents; persons with previous legal custody; and others.

Adoption fraud is sometimes referred to wrongful adoption. Adoption fraud is often a serious violation that can have effects that last for years or even decades. Adoption laws will hold all persons or parties liable who contribute in any way to adoption fraud.

What Is Adult Adoption?

Adoption can also involve situations other than child adoptions. For instance, adult adoption can be required in some cases where an adult is not capable of caring for themselves. The process for adult adoption is similar to that of child adoption. That is, the adopting party needs to meet all the eligibility and capability requirements.

However, adult adoption can sometimes involve unique issues, especially if the adult is physically or mentally disabled. In such cases, the adopting party may also be required to provide proof that they are capable of providing the proper type of care for the adopted party.

Can A Gay or Lesbian Couple Adopt a Child?

The laws of most states are silent about whether a gay or lesbian couple can adopt a child. Only two states prohibit adoption by gay or lesbian individual: Florida and Mississippi. However, a Florida court declared the law unconstitutional in 2010 and state lawmakers overturned the ban in 2015. As of August 2015, a lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s gay or lesbian adoption ban is pending in the courts.

The state of Utah prohibits individuals are living together, but are not married, from adopting a child. However, Utah does permit single individuals to adopt a child. Utah’s ban on cohabitation adoption has been challenged and will likely continue to be challenged in the courts.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Resolve an Adoption Dispute?

Adoption can often involve some complex legal issues. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need assistance with the adoption process. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and can also represent you if you need to attend a hearing. In the event of a legal dispute, your attorney can help direct you towards the most suitable option.

Photo of page author Kourosh Akhbari

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 08-19-2015 10:28 AM PDT

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