Adoption is a wonderful and fulfilling way to expand your family. However, it can also be a complicated legal process that can take years from start to finish. If you are looking to adopt a child, you should speak to an Anderson adoption lawyer at our firm. Our skilled family law attorney could answer your adoption-related questions and help you navigate the legal system. Greg Steele here to help you navigate that process and achieve the family you’ve always dreamt of.
When a Child Becomes Eligible for Adoption
Before your family can adopt a child, the court will need to terminate the custodial rights of any living biological parents. In some cases, a biological parent will forfeit those rights voluntarily. In other circumstances, parents might involuntarily lose their parenting rights because of abuse or neglect.
If a mother is not married at the time of her child’s birth, the biological father will need to establish his parental rights or otherwise lose his ability to prevent another person from adopting that child.
Sometimes, terminating a parent’s rights is in the best interest of their child. A judge will terminate a parent’s rights if clear and convincing evidence provides statutory grounds for doing so. Speaking to a lawyer might provide hopeful adoptive parents with information on how to successfully complete an adoption in Anderson.
Who Can Adopt a Child in Anderson?
There is no specific age requirement for adopting children, as the South Carolina Adoption Act says that any resident of the state can adopt a child. Most adoptions in our area involve extended family members, including grandparents, aunts or uncles, or even siblings. The courts typically prefer family adoptions, because when a parent is unfit or uninterested in caring for their child, it is often best for the child’s stability to enter the care of a relative.
Stepparents may also adopt their stepchildren to formalize their role as parents. Anyone looking to adopt a child, regardless of their relationship thereto, should discuss the process with an experienced attorney our area.
Steps to Adopt a Child
In order to even be considered, you must prove that you are an eligible adoptive parent. This involves not only fulfilling the legal requirements, but numerous other unofficial qualities as well. For example, in cases that involve children who are at least 14, prospective adoptive parents will need that child’s consent. Knowing the important factors can make the difference in the approval process, allowing you to steadily move through the administrative process.
Pass a Home Study
Next, a home study needs to be requested. After a series of interviews, medical reports, proof of employment, background checks, and follow ups, your home will be visited and inspected. Part of this study will include ensuring the parent does not indicate patterns of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or delinquency related to a child. Passing this home study and character evaluation is critical to being approved for an adoption in Anderson. If you are a stepparent or are otherwise related by blood or marriage to the child, a home study does not need to be requested.
Placement and Finalization
Once you meet all the adoption requirements in Anderson and pass all tests, a child search can begin. When a child is finally selected, the person or agency with guardianship of the child will need to provide a sworn statement indicating consent to the adoption before the child can be placed under your care. Unless you are a stepparent or related to the child by blood or marriage, during this phase, a social worker will consistently check in to ensure the child is being treated well. Once it is finalized, paperwork will conclude the process and complete the adoption.
Work with an Anderson Attorney when Adopting a Child
Every step of this process will involve mountains of paperwork, approval processes, meetings, and monitoring. Even in the best of circumstances, there are enormous hurdles to overcome for an adoption to take place. Our team can get you to the finish line and represent you throughout the entire process. If you are seeking to adopt a child, consult with an Anderson adoption lawyer. We can help ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.