Having a child placed in your family for adoption can be a dream come true. But once the placement is made, your adoption journey is far from over. You still need to file the adoption petition with the clerk of the court, complete post-placement assessments, and attend the final adoption hearing. During this time, many questions and concerns can come up.
Below are some answers to frequently asked questions our adoption lawyer is asked at Breeden Law Office:
- Is the adoption final when the child is placed in my home? No, a placement is not the final step of an adoption. Once a while is placed in your home, you must go through a post-placement assessment with a social worker and have the adoption finalized by the court.
- Does it cost money to file for adoption? Yes, there will be a filing fee for the adoption petition. The amount depends on the county’s fee schedule. If you cannot afford the fee, speak with an attorney about seeking a fee waiver. You also may be required to pay adoption fees to a public or private agency.
- What documents do I need to file the adoption petition? When you file an adoption petition, you must include several documents, including your pre-placement assessment, the Consent of Adoption form from the child’s biological parents, an affidavit from the child’s biological mother, a certified copy of background information from the biological parents or adoption agency, and a financial affidavit showing you have paid all necessary adoption costs.
- What is an adoption hearing? In adoptions during which no biological parent contests, you may not be required to go through a formal adoption hearing. However, if someone is opposed to the adoption or raises a concern, then you will be required to attend a court hearing before a judge. During this hearing, the judge will review the circumstances, determine whether you have met the legal requirements for the adoption, analyze what is best for the child, and approve or deny the adoption.
- When is the adoption hearing? An adoption hearing is typically scheduled within 90 days of you filing the adoption petition, though it must occur within six months of your filing date. However, if your adoption is uncontested, the court may grant the adoption without a formal hearing, and your adoption can be final in three to four months.
- What makes an adoption final? Your adoption of a child will be final when the court hands down an order granting the adoption. This is known as the adoption decree.
- When can a North Carolina adoption be finalized? A court can finalize an adoption after the child has been in your home between three and six months. This is also known as the supervisory period in which the placement is under review for any issues.
- Can I change my child’s name during the adoption? Yes, your adoption attorney can guide you through changing your child’s name as part of the adoption proceedings. If you do not do so during the adoption, you must go through a separate legal process after the adoption is final. This would require separate paperwork and court fees.
- Are the adoption papers public? The adoption petition and attached documents are not public record. However, the final adoption decree is public record.
- Do I need an attorney to go through the adoption process? An adoption lawyer is not required when you go through the adoption process. However, working with a lawyer is highly recommended. The adoption process can be complicated, and the only way to obtain advice and guidance is to hire a lawyer.
Contact Breeden Law Office to Speak With an Adoption Lawyer
If you are thinking about adopting a child, call Breeden Law Office right away to speak with attorney Jonathan Breeden. He has years of experience helping prospective parents navigate the adoption process and expand their families. Contact us today at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a case consultation.