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December 2018 Archives

Adult Adoptions

The process for adoption of an adult does not include many of the requirements present for adoption of a minor. Specifically, an adult adoption only requires a petition for adoption and consent of the adoptee and their spouse, if applicable. No background checks or home study is required. You also do not need to terminate the rights of the natural parent(s). One step that is more intensive than a minor adoption is potential name change. If looking to change your name as an adult pursuant to an adoption, you must also follow the steps for a civil name change.

Counsel for Child in Adoption

The adoptee may be appointed an attorney to represent their interests in the context of an adoption matter. Specifically, if a petition for involuntary termination of the natural parent(s)' rights is pending. When presiding over a petition for involuntary termination, the court must consider the needs and welfare of the child(ren) involved. A major factor is the emotional bond between the parent and child and potential consequence of severing that bond. A parent's representation of love and affection for a child without further corroboration, are not sufficient to prevent termination of their rights based on the best interests of the child.

Home Study for Adoption

A standard adoption will require a home study to be completed by the local Children & Youth services agency or other approved social worker. This process can be expensive and takes a number of months to complete as several visits to your home will be required. The social worker completing the report would observe the home and ask certain questions of the prospective parents. A recommendation as to whether the home is suitable for a child and whether the parents should be permitted to adopt is included in the report. All of this information is submitted to the court in connection with your adoption petition. A Report of Intent to Adopt should be filed to get started with the home study process.

Legal Issues When One Parent Moves Out of State

When deciding custody, the courts in most states use the "best interests of a child" measurement to determine division of custody and visitation rights. When the parents live a significant distance from each other, whether the custodial or non-custodial parent moves, "the best interests of a child" are again brought into the equation along with other relocation factors. Unless the parents are able to come to an agreement outside of court, the court may decide to permit the move or not, and can order new custody or visitation agreements. Different states have different laws, so it's best to review the case with a legal counsel who is familiar with your state's law.

Why Pro Se Divorce Is a Bad Idea for Most People

"Pro se" is Latin meaning "for oneself." In divorce, it means not retaining legal counsel for any step of the divorce process: filing the paperwork to serve the other spouse divorce papers; negotiating a settlement of all assets, financial support, and custody; and finally, filing the final papers in court, including the Marital Settlement Agreement.

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