(A Petitions) and Surrender of Child for Adoption Petitions (AS Petitions)
Adoption is the process by which you become the legal parent of a child that is not your own. Whether you are seeking to adopt a child from a relative, from foster care or you wish to adopt your own step-child as your own, you need the approval of the Family Court (except in Nassau County where some adoptions are handled by the Surrogate Court).
The process is started by the filing of a Petition in the Family Court. Simon & Milner will be able to assist you in the preparation of a petition.
In a simple adoption case (such as where you seek to adopt a step-child and the other parent is either deceased or given their consent) you will only have to appear in court once, at the conclusion of the case for the Judge to meet with you and the child you are seeking to adopt and to sign off on the paperwork. In other more complex cases, additional court appearances will be necessary.
Before you can even file for adoption of a child whose parents are still alive, those parents must have had their parental rights terminated either voluntarily or by Court order. For more information on voluntary surrenders of parental rights click here
. For more information on court ordered terminations of parental rights click here
After you have filed for adoption there are several steps that the Court will take prior to approving the adoption.
First you must submit to a home study. This means that a representative from ACS or CPS (depending on where you live) will come to your home and will want to inspect each and every room. They will also personally interview you as well as any other people living in your home.
Next you must have fingerprints taken so that a criminal background check may be run on you. The Court will also want to run your name through the domestic violence registry, sex offender registry and child abuse registry. Obviously, if there are hits for your name, this could cause complications to your adoption case.
In addition, if you are adopting someone else's child by consent (meaning they are giving you permission to adopt the child… as opposed to someone who had their child taken) you may also need to work out a “Post Adoption Contact Agreement” with the party from whom you are adopting the child. Sometimes, people place their children for adoption because they are just unable to care for the child properly but it does not mean they want to give up all rights to the child.
In this case, you need an experienced Family Law attorney to help you work out the details of such an arrangement.
Simon & Milner will guide you through each step of the process and ensure that the Court is in receipt of all of the proper documents.
Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation!
Surrender of Child for Adoption
Sometimes, a person is simply unable to care for their child, whether they don't have the money, are too young, or are just psychologically or physically unable to. In a case such as this, you may sign a voluntary surrender of the child to any other person.
However, just because you are unable to care for your child does not necessarily mean you want to give up all contact and connection to that child. In such a case, you need the assistance of an experienced Family Law attorney to prepare a “Post Adoption Contact Agreement.” Simon & Milner has decades of experiencing preparing Family Court agreements and are aware of all of the important hallmarks of a proper “Post Adoption Contact Agreement.”
It is vital that before you enter into any kind of voluntary surrender of your child that you speak to an experienced family law attorney first. Once you sign the surrender it is not very easy to take it back. Very importantly, any type of Post Adoption Contact Agreement must be entered into BEFORE the surrender of your child.
Of course, the most important consideration to keep in mind is that once the adoption has been finalized by the Court THERE IS NO GOING BACK. Once your parental rights are terminated, you cannot have them back. Your child is no longer your child, but the child of someone else. You are only permitted contact with them at that point pursuant to a Post Adoption Contact Agreement. Even if the new parents do not follow the post adoption contact agreement, the adoption cannot be voided. Your only remedy is to take them back to court to enforce the agreement.
Simon & Milner cannot stress enough how important it is to talk to an experienced attorney prior to surrendering a child for adoption.
The attorneys of Simon & Milner in Valley Stream, New York are here to help if you have questions about adoption. Call (516) 561-6622
or (800) 807-5616