Why you need a lawyer in adoption cases

Stephanie Cortes
 | 
In the United States, adoption is a process that requires court approval to establish a legal guardian relationship for a child (or an adult technically).

Usually, adoptions involve placing a child in a family that doesn't include the birth parents. The prospective adoptive parent may consider navigating this process through adoption service agencies, which also help you connect with children who need homes. 

You can also work with an adoption lawyer and never use an adoption agency. 

You can also use an adoption lawyer if you are a birth parent and want your child back. 

We've all seen enough movies in which an adoption goes wrong. 

They are stressful, expensive and long processes. 


There are many benefits to working with an adoption attorney as your primary adoption professional instead of through an adoption agency. Working with an attorney is considered an independent adoption.

Adoption attorneys are often a better choice if you've been turned down by an agency (which will happen due to a variety of restrictions, including your age). 

Adoption lawyers can also make the process of finding a child, and bringing that child into your home, faster than agencies can. 

And remember that you can do a combination - use an adoption agency, and get your own adoption attorney to supervise the process. 

Adoption attorneys are familiar with adoption laws that vary by the state the petition is filed in and the case type you are pursuing such as adult, child, domestic or international matters. It is important to understand them before beginning the adoption process.

Here are some adoption-specific questions and answers.

What court procedures can I expect in an adoption case? 
  • The prospective adoption parent(s) file a petition for adoption in family court.
  • Court petition and documents are served to all legally interested parties. This includes the child’s birth parents.
  • A court hearing is held for parties to plead their case.
  • If the judge determines it is in the best interest of the adoptee, a court order will be granted approving the adoption.

What are the qualifications to adopt?

Eligibility and requirements for adoption approvals will vary by your state’s laws for domestic adoption and the independent country’s laws for international adoption. It is vital to look into the eligibility requirements in your area when considering adoption.
In general, someone may become eligible to adopt in the U.S.  if they generally meet the following guidelines:

Should I work with an adoption attorney?

Working with an adoption attorney for your case may be much more beneficial than just representing you in family law court. Adoption lawyers in your state can provide you with the right guidance that will best represent your interest and help you avoid future complications. Here are some factors to consider that an adoption attorney may assist you with.

According to the Adoption Network, American families adopt nearly 140,000 children a year. For an adopted child, the same rights that a biological child would obtain such as child support and custody arrangements in the event of a divorce. These rights extend to inheritance rights to the adoptive parent’s will or trust.

For prospective parents, adoption lawyers can :
  • Help you draft an adoption petition and assist with further court documentation needed for your case.
  • Help mediate rights between biological and prospective parents.
  • Take legal steps to avoid future complications such as the birth parents wanting the child back. 
  • Inform you of any medical conditions at birth or others that may arise for the child. 
  • Provide biological and prospective parents with more freedom that is generally not provided through an adoption agency to choose or reject each other.
  • Adoption process moves along faster with an attorney representing your interest.
  • Arrive at the birthing center to obtain consent from the biological parents to avoid changes in pre-negotiated decisions including handling hospital staff for you. 
  • Locate the biological father to obtain legal consent that terminates parental rights. 
  • Assist the adoption process if the child has a green card.
  • Assist with international adoption processes.
  • Assist with adoption frauds.
For birth parent disputes, adoption lawyers can:
  • Create legal terms to maintain contact with the child.
  • Assist in reversing an adoption 
  • Assist in disputes with adoption agencies.
  • Assist with adoption frauds.
For adult adoptions, lawyers can:
  • Assist you with adopting an adult who is no longer capable of caring for themselves such as physical or mental disabilities.  
  • Help you provide proof to the court that you meet eligibility and capability to care for the adoptee.
  • Assist the adoption process of adoptees that that have green cards.
  • Assist with adoption frauds.
You may find adoption information by state by clicking on the link below:

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

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