Severance/Termination and Adoption
Adoption is a legal process in which a child is made a permanent member of a family into which he/she was not born. However, there are many different types of adoptions including independent adoptions, agency adoptions, international adoptions, relative adoptions, stepparent adoptions, and more. While different statutes and rules apply to different types of adoptions, every case must be approved by a family law court to be made legal.
Strict compliance with adoption laws, which vary from state-to-state, is mandatory. If you are considering adoption, it is essential that you consult with a qualified family law attorney who can protect and maximize your legal rights and interests. Please contact the Law Office of Jeff Zurbriggen today for a complimentary consultation with a trusted attorney.
The Legal Process
Prior to an adoption being granted, the child must be ‘free’ for adoption. That means that one, or both, of the biological parent’s rights must be severed, or terminated, prior to adoption. A severance action can occur in several ways: by the parent voluntarily agreeing to it by signing a relinquishment of their rights, or by petitioning the court to involuntarily terminate that parent’s rights.
Prospective adoptive parents must follow a set of rules before an adoption is made legal. Generally an adoption study, fingerprint checks, and many legal forms must be provided to the court prior to any adoption hearing occurring. The adoptive parents also need to submit a petition to the court for approval as well as go through a legal adoption hearing. At the hearing, a judge will evaluate the circumstances of the case—taking into consideration the child’s best interests—and then issue an order to either finalize or deny the action.
Child support is not terminated upon the severance of a paying parent’s rights. It is only upon the grant of the adoption that child support ceases to be owed.
How We Can Help
Adoption laws differ significantly within the United States and internationally. Nevertheless, every prospective adoptive parent must strictly comply with the laws to ensure the courts approve their action. An experienced family law attorney at the Law Office of Jeff Zurbriggen can help inform you of the adoption laws, draft the appropriate paperwork, represent you at the hearing, and ensure your legal rights and interests are protected every step of the way.
Please contact us today for a FREE case evaluation.