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The latest statistics say 437,283 children are currently part of the foster care system. These young lives are in need of families, which is why adoption is such a powerful act of kindness provided by our legal system.
However, the adoption process in Salt Lake City, UT, can be complicated, depending on the type of adoption you choose.
And the recent South Jordan prosecution of a fraudulent adoption agency proves that it’s more important than ever to protect your family and the rights of birth parents with the right legal representation in Salt Lake City, UT.
As any Utah adoption attorney will tell you, the state has specific requirements over who can adopt.
Before you research the costs associated with adoption, a law firm for representation, or the types of adoption options open to you in Salt Lake City, UT, you must legally, emotionally, financially, and medically qualify.
A Salt Lake City, UT law firm with practice areas in adoption rights will first make sure that you and your family, by law, meet the basic residential and personal profile of a valid adopter:
To make sure you can provide for your child, you’ll also need to submit a financial assessment.
There’s no specific limit or amount, but, for obvious reasons, your resources should be enough to adequately provide for a child’s total needs.
Stable emotional health is a significant factor in being ready to raise a child.
The state takes this part very seriously, so your family will undergo an evaluation of psychological and emotional stability.
Note: Criminal history and child abuse have their own procedure. You should use an adoption lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT to walk you through what you’ll need.
Generally speaking, the process works like this:
Your home environment is a big factor in making sure your family is the right fit for children. That’s why agencies conduct home studies. Your lawyer can walk you through how to prepare for this.
Adoption attorneys will advise you about the details of the process, which differs based on the types of adoptive situations.
The most familiar kind of adoptive situations are those conducted through an agency. These are either:
Without agency involvement, you’re looking at an independent adoption. These are much more high-contact and directly involve the birth mother (or birth parents). They’re also much more expensive, and they involve an intermediary such as an adoption attorney.
Adoption attorneys in Utah can help you draw up the details of a contract that are legal, lasting, and which protects everyone’s priorities.
As an adoption attorney will tell you, open adoptions are independent except for the fact that the birth parents can maintain contact with the child even after adoption.
In identified adoptions, both the adoptive parents and the birth parents each find each other outside of an agency. They then approach an agency for the filing process, which makes them a “hybrid.”
International adoptions, especially by U.S. citizens from China, are very popular. However, they’re vastly more complicated and more expensive.
In international situations, U.S. parents have to go through the added stage of obtaining a visa for their new minor. There are also a number of changes to the law and federal restrictions recently put in place, so you’ll need to make sure you have an adoption lawyer on retainer.
When a stepparent wants to legally adopt the children of their spouse, an adoption lawyer will help them through the process. As long as both biological parents agree, this is usually quite simple.
However, if one of the child’s parents disagrees or can’t be found, having a law firm involved will be more important than ever.
In Utah, same-sex couples are absolutely allowed to use a Utah adoption attorney to adopt. However, same-sex couples must be married to legally adopt, since adoption by common law couples is not allowed.
Step-parents are one type of adoption that families seek. But, in Salt Lake City, Utah, many individuals qualify for relative adoption. In fact, it’s the second most common form of adoption.
When a person can’t look after their own child adequately, and for a sustained period of time, a kinship or relative adoption allows for a relative to legally adopt and take over a child, as guardian, in cases of:
Note: Surrogacy is not adoption and they’re not covered by the same laws in Utah.
Surrogacy is its own contract, and in Utah, an adoption lawyer will tell you that they require you to show you can’t carry a pregnancy or give birth.
There are reasons why so many families in Salt Lake City, Utah turn to a law firm with practice areas in adoption.
An adoption lawyer acts as more than an intermediary or someone who knows the law, who can also represent your interests. During the adoption process, a lot can happen that the law can’t specifically address. That’s when lawyers become necessary.
Often, a situation involving birth mothers and fathers can become even more delicate than other areas of family law, like divorce.
Everyone’s rights must be protected, of course, but only an adoption attorney can truly respond to unique situations using the law, as they arise.
Here are just some of the ways retaining a law firm or an adoption attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah could help streamline the adoption experience.
At Schmidt Law Firm in Salt Lake City, UT, our team of attorneys and legal specialists can help you make adopting your newest family member, a smooth and stress-free experience. Our law offices work with you throughout the process, from the moment you contact us, to the search for an agency or birth family, to assist you with the paperwork, application, and more.
When you’re ready to consider adoption, look for a lawyer with a proven track record for helping families. To the Schmidt Law Firm team, you’re more than just a client. Call us today at 801-990-6390, and we can schedule a 30-minute consultation at our office to learn more about helping your family grow.