Seasoned Adoption Attorney in Linden NJ

Get the Support of an Experienced Adoption Attorney in Elizabeth, Union County, and throughout New Jersey

Looking for an Adoption Lawyer Union County NJFamily is a broad term and can have multiple meanings. There are as many definitions of a family as there are families, each unique. For instance, nuclear families may contain parents, stepparents, stepchildren, grandparents, spouses, pets, biological children, or adopted children. The combination of family members makes for a diverse conception of what it means to co-exist in a household that calls itself a family. People choose their family makeup, including those who wish to adopt family members. As in many other states, adoption in New Jersey has rules to protect children, birth parents, and adoptive families.

If you are looking for legal guidance and assistance with the adoption process in New Jersey, consult our seasoned adoption attorney at The Law Offices of Edward S. Cooper, Esq. Contact us online, or call our Linden, NJ office today at (908) 481-4625 for answers to your questions and additional assistance with your case. Our law firm has the knowledge and the experience helping clients in all family law-related issues throughout Union County and Middlesex County, such as Elizabeth, Carteret, Cranbury, Mountainside, Summit, Scotch Plains, Edison, and neighboring towns. Reach out to us without hesitation to set up a consultation.

Who May Adopt a Child in New Jersey?

The first rule is that the adopting individual must be 18 years old, minimally, and ten years older than the child they wish to adopt. In addition, the adopting parent may be a relative or stepparent, and the adopting party must be married. And if the adopting parent is a New Jersey resident, they can adopt a child from another country, so long as the U.S. Immigration Services verifies the adoption. Moreover, the adopting parent does not have to adopt a foreign child through the New Jersey court if U.S. Immigration Services confirms the child’s immigrant visa and adoption. Once verified, the parent may request a new birth certificate in New Jersey upon proof of residency, adoption judgment papers, and the child’s birthplace, birth date, and immigrant visa. Additionally, parents who want to foster before they adopt can be foster parents if they are 18, ten years older than any foster child, self-supporting, and healthy.

What is the Adoption Process in NJ?

Before an adoption can occur, the birth parent or agency has 72 hours to give their written, notarized consent to the adoption after the baby’s birth. And a child of 10 or older must also consent at the final adoption hearing. As to fathers, a paternity denial amounts to permission to the adoption. However, a man married or attempting to be married to the birth mother is the presumptive father of a child born during the marriage or within ten months of the marriage’s termination. A father who acts like a father wishes to support and raise the birth mother’s child, or paternity tests as the father is also the presumed or proven father. As to the birth parent, it is essential that they understand the finality of the adoption, that they are forever giving up their parental rights. The only way to nullify consent is if the birth parent consented under duress or fraud.

After consent and relinquishment by the birth parent or parents, the adopting parties undergo an adoption agency’s home study to establish their suitability to be adoptive parents. New Jersey requires they complete a home study. The Division of Family Services conducts the home study if the child has special needs. The home study allows the prospective parents an opportunity to show they can provide a safe and loving home to a child. Home studies consist of minimally three interviews, one with the married couple and one with each spouse and other adult household members, if any.

A household visit and review of employment, personal references, and criminal background check of all household members, except a stepparent adoption and adult relatives of the child’s birth mother, follow. The home study provides a complete picture of home life with the adoptive family, including interests, activities, hobbies, childcare philosophy, disciplinary opinions, and parenting experience. In all, the right adoptive parents have emotional maturity and consistency and can dedicate themselves to childrearing. The study delves into each parent’s family, medical, and marital history, in addition to their finances and lifestyle. Both parents agree in the home study not to use physical or mental abuse to discipline a child.

How Long Does it Take to Adopt a Baby in NJ?

What is the Adoption Process in NJ?The evaluation for adoption takes no longer than 18 months and is current and final before the child moves in with the adoptive parents. Any criminal convictions, especially those associated with child abuse, may influence the decision to approve the adoption. A serious offense or multiple offenses more likely disqualify a family adoption. Still, the agency can consider the length of time passing and the party’s rehabilitation with the criminal history.

Two weeks after the child moves into the adoptive home, the child placement agency visits the household to verify the parents’ knowledge of the child’s background, educational plan, and childcare situation. For children under 5, the agency checks in on the family twice a month for six months. They want to see how the family adapts and copes with their new situation. In addition, they want to make sure the child’s placement is appropriate for all involved. For older children, the visits are monthly for six months and bimonthly up until the adoption’s finalization.

What are the Costs Associated with Adoption?

Requirements include the expenses adoptive parents pay to adopt a child. Aside from legal fees, an adoptive family may pay the child’s and birth mother’s medical, hospital and counseling bills up to four weeks after birth. They also pay for the birth mother’s food, clothing, and shelter expenses during pregnancy. And for foreign adoptions, the child’s representative’s fees in their country are also borne by the adopting family.

What is the Process for Adoptions Outside of New Jersey?

Out-of-state adoptions must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. New Jersey does not release a child to their adoptive parents in another state until state officials notify the New Jersey adoption agency in writing that the adoption is fit for the child. When a foster parent seeks to adopt their foster child, they must go through the Department of Children and Families and undergo the home study.

Contact Union NJ Adoption Attorney Edward S. Cooper, Esq. for Guidance in the Adoption Process

Whether the adopting parents are foster, step, strangers, or relatives wishing to adopt, they are best guided by an experienced New Jersey adoption attorney through the process. Since there are court forms to file and legal ramifications for background checks and home visits, an adopting parent or parents should consult with a family law attorney to prepare for the home study and court hearing. Facing the family court and an adoption agency that may not have the adoptive parents’ interest in mind, an adoptive parent needs the protection and experience a family lawyer can provide.

At The Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, we can assist you with the entirety of the adoption process in North Plainfield, Jamesburg, Cranford, Berkeley Heights, Woodbridge, and Union Township. No matter what your situation may be, our team is prepared to address all of your questions and concerns and aid in the journey with chief regard to your needs.

Contact us at (908) 481-4625  or online to provide you with the knowledge and advice you need to properly follow the steps in the adoption process.