The first step in the legal adoption process is to terminate all parental rights of birthparents of the child. The final legal step for finalizing adoption in court is to be recognized as legal and permanent parents of the child in court. There are various points along the way where adoption laws can have a significant effect on the child’s adoption.
Attorneys at SBEMP (Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney) law firm provides professional legal advice and services to clients in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Inland Empire, Orange County, Coachella Valley, Costa Mesa, San Diego, New Jersey, New York, and surrounding locations.
Understanding Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of parental rights or TPR is a legal process that involves a court hearing. The judge during the court hearing issues a decree to place a permanent end on legal parental rights of the birthparents. This step needs to take place before the child can be made legally available for adoption.
TPR can be voluntary or involuntary depending upon individual circumstances. Some states offer a brief period during which either parent can appeal when the legal rights are terminated involuntarily.
Legal Risk During Adoption
Legal risk refers to an adoption situation in which the ‘to be adopted’ child is placed with the adoptive parents before legal rights of birthparents are terminated.
High risk adoptions
Adoptions where parental rights have not been terminated are considered high risk. It is expected that the child may not become legally available for adoption because the birthparent or a relative may step in to be the parent. Adoption of newborns is typically considered a high risk adoption.
There is a short period during which a birthparent can revoke their consent in cases where termination of parental rights is voluntary. You will need to get in touch with your county’s Department of Children and Youth to better understand these time periods.
Low risk adoptions
Adoption where the rights of a birthparent are not yet terminated, but is expected to be completed soon is considered low risk. The likelihood of children returning to their birth family in low risk adoption is very low.
Each state is allowed to form its own laws in the area of adoption. Practices and policies widely vary among the states and counties even though few federal laws apply.
You may need to work with an adoption agency if you are trying to adopt a teenager or a waiting child. However, you would need the expert services of an attorney if you are hoping to adopt a newborn.
It is the judge’s duty to make changes as needed in a child’s legal status. Individual cases of children are periodically reviewed in court while they are waiting in foster care to determine whether they should be made available for adoption or reunified with their birth family. Family court judge has the authority to terminate parental rights and to preside over the finalization and issue of the adoption decree.
Lawyers at the SBEMP law firm serve clients from Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Inland Empire, Orange County, Coachella Valley, Costa Mesa, San Diego, New Jersey, New York, and nearby locations for a range of legal practice areas.
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SBEMP LLP is a full service law firm with attorney offices in Palm Springs (Palm Desert, Inland Empire, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells), CA; Indian Wells, CA; Costa Mesa (Orange County), CA; San Diego, CA; New Jersey, NJ; and New York, NY.
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