There are many roads that lead to adoption, from starting a family to a Step-Parent adopting their partner’s child. Regardless of how you arrived at adoption, It can be helpful to have an adoption attorney to help you navigate the process, from planning for adoption costs to working with adoption agencies. According to Washington State family law, adoption requires one or both of the child’s biological parents to have their parental rights terminated by a court. Depending on the specifics of the case, it is commonly recommended and sometimes legally required that prospective adoptive parents work with an adoption attorney.
What is an Adoption Attorney?
An adoption attorney practices family law and either focuses their practice on adoptions or takes adoption cases in addition to other family law cases.
What does an Adoption Attorney Do?
Your adoption attorney will guide you through adoption, by helping you understand your rights and responsibilities and advocating for you throughout the entire process. Adoption services include, but are not limited to:
- Communicating with adoption agencies
- Acting as a liaison between you and social workers, biological parent’s legal representation or prospective adoptive parents
- Manage adoption paperwork
- Represent your case in court
- Help you budget for adoption costs
- Partner with clients who are adopting through DSHS
- Organize home studies and placement reports, to ensure approved placement
- Prepare all documents needed to finalize the adoption
You adoption attorney will also help you understand and abide by Washington State specific adoption laws.
How do You Find the Right Adoption Attorney for Your Family?
There are many resources available to find an adoption attorney.
- Word of mouth– If you have any friends or family who have gone through the adoption process or are part of an adoption support group, it’s beneficial to reach out for recommendations in your area.
- Agency connections– If you are already working with an adoption agency, they may be able to provide a list of adoption attorneys in your area
- Web search– Many law offices provide a list of services, specialities and attorney profiles on their website. Look for offices who have positive local reviews and offer a consultation.
As you research adoption attorneys, be sure to inquire about a consultation. This provides an opportunity for you to connect with the attorney, learn more about their practice, specialities and ultimately to see if you connect with them. Adoption is a very personal journey and it is important to work with someone who makes you feel supported and heard, throughout the entire process. There are many different types of adoption cases and the consultation is a great opportunity to learn about what type of cases the attorney is experienced in.
Things to Consider When Seeking an Adoption Attorney
- Adoption Philosophy– Do your attorney’s values match yours?
- Fee structure– Adoption attorney fees can vary depending on location and experience.
- Qualifications- How long has the attorney been practicing family law? What is their experience with adoption cases?
- Communication Style- How frequently do you want to be in touch throughout the process?
- The Attorney’s Team- Who will be working on your case? Will you be working directly with the attorney or will the case be shared among partners/associates? Is there a staff person who would be your main point of contact?
Throughout the adoption process, your attorney is there to support and guide you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek resources to help you feel comfortable and confident through the journey.
Schedule A Consultation With An Adoption Attorney