Adoption is a court procedure in which an adult becomes legally recognized as the parent of a child who is not his or her biological child. Adoption formally establishes a parent-child relationship for all purposes, including child support obligations, inheritance rights, and custody. Although the term "child" is used, adults can also be adopted if he or she consents to adoption. Adoption of adult children may be preferable to obtain certain benefits, legal protection, or for inheritance purposes.
The legal rules regarding adoption vary significantly from state to state. Additionally, whether you choose to adopt through a state agency or private organization can also bear significant influence on the adoption process.
There are many ways to adopt a child. These are the most common:
All adoptions, whether through an agency or done privately, must be approved by a court. The adoptive parents must petition for approval from the court as well as participate in an adoption hearing. Additionally, prior to any hearings, anyone who is required to consent to the adoption must receive notice. This includes any biological parents, adoption agencies, the child's legal representative (if a court has appointed one), and the child if he or she is old enough.
If the court determines that the adoption is in the child's best interest, the judge will issue an order approving and finalizing the adoption. This order, usually called a Final Decree of Adoption, legalizes the new parent-child relationship, and changes the child's name to the name the adoptive parents have chosen.
Speaking with the proper attorney will help you understand your rights and obligations as well as preserve any possible remedies you may have.
Last Modified: 01-07-2016 02:25 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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