ADOPTION AND STEP-PARENT ADOPTION
Representing Adoptive Families
The attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, say with great pride that there is no better area of the law to practice than adoptions. In fact, we are honored when clients choose us to assist them in this most important task of expanding their family.
Most adoptive parent clients begin their adoption journey by deciding, for whatever reason, to grow their families through adoption. Sometimes clients choose this path because they have struggled with heart break such as infant loss, miscarriage or infertility. Other times, families choose adoption because they wish to grow their family without a traditional pregnancy. Still others have no other reason other than just feeling the pull of their heart strings and the feeling that this is what’s meant to be for them. For whatever the reason you may choose adoption, we want to help make that dream become your reality.
Adoption work is by far our most rewarding, but it can also often times be an area of law with great legal complexities, and great worry to our clients as they navigate through the often times, lengthy process. The attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, LLC understand that the tasks of choosing both adoption lawyers, and adoption agencies, is of utmost importance to our clients. We don’t take that lightly and are prepared to assist our clients through every step of this process, wherever our clients may need us.
Representing Birth Parents
We at Hoover Kacyon, LLC also regularly represent birth parents looking to place their child for adoption with another. Often times, we are contacted by a birth parent who is looking to place their child for adoption with a family or person they already know. Other times, we are contacted by a birth parent for assistance in finding a family to adopt their child, because they don’t know where else to turn.
The attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, LLC want our birth parent clients to know this: We value you. We don’t take lightly the choice you have made and we don’t judge you. Instead, we think you are some of the most beautiful and selfless people in our world. In the event you are a birth parent wanting to place your child for adoption, we are also honored to help and assist you in that decision, and strive to connect you with other persons, agencies, resources, and community help that will best serve you and your individual circumstances as you navigate these uncertain times.
The attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, LLC find that in representing birth parents, our primary focus is to help you accomplish your goal, as quickly as feasible, and with the most encouragement and compassion possible. We understand the process is difficult, both physically and emotionally, and we are ready to be there with you as your legal advisor and counselor.
The Adoption Process
The adoption process can begin when a woman finds herself pregnant and first begins considering adoption. The earlier a woman identifies that she would like to make an adoption plan, the more services can be put in place to assist her with her pregnancy, including things like living expenses and medical expenses during the pregnancy. Most importantly, a birth mother considering adoption should be properly counseled in the adoption process, the legal and practical effects of adoption, and alternatives to adoption. This counseling can occur through services of an adoption agency, or through a private adoption arrangement, by the engagement of private or individual therapists and/or adoption attorneys.
A birth mother may also wish to personally choose an adoptive family for her child, either through the services of adoption agencies, through contact with an adoption attorney or adoption facilitators, or through private advertisements or other direct inquiries.
Mostly importantly, a birth mother’s role is to carry the pregnancy to term, focusing on her health and the health of the unborn child, and also ensuring that she is making the right decision for herself and her child. A birth mother is not bound by an adoption plan she may make, and can change her mind at any time prior to permanently surrendering her parental rights. This is why it’s crucial for a birth mother to be well advised throughout her pregnancy, so she can ensure she’s thinking of all options and making the best choice for her.
After delivery, a birth mother can place her child for adoption in a few different ways. If a birth mother wishes to relinquish a child to the custody of an adoption agency, for the purposes of an adoption, the birth mother can sign the permanent surrender agreement 72 hours after the birth of the child. If a birth mother wishes to do this, it is absolutely crucial that she be represented by counsel before signing this document. Reputable adoption agencies will insist a birth mom be represented prior to signing a permanent surrender. An adoption agency that does not require birth mother representation should be approached with caution, as the legal uncertainties that can result from this approach can jeopardize an adoption being finalized for years to come.
A birth mother may also wish to surrender her child to another person or family without immediately signing off on all of her parental rights, or, alternatively, may wish to place her child for adoption but with bypassing the use of an adoption agency. There are different legal mechanisms to accomplish these goals. Sometimes, a birth mother may wish to sign a consent to adoption document, which is filed with the court expressing the birth mother’s agreement with the adoption, but which does not terminate her rights as a birth mother until the adoption is finalized in court. Other times, a birth mother may wish to give up legal custody of her child to someone else, with the intent to complete an adoption proceeding at some point in the future. In these situations, it is not mandatory for a birth mother to be represented by counsel at all steps in this process, but it is highly advisable for a birth mother to seek the advice of counsel as soon as possible, to ensure her rights are protected as she makes plans for her child.
The most important thing for a birth mother to know is this: you should be represented by a competent and experienced adoption attorney to explain to you all your available legal options before you make a decision to place your child for adoption. Almost as equally important is to know that you do not have to pay for your legal fees yourself, but your legal fees for an adoption can be charged to the adoptive family of your child. Because of this, the attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, LLC advise any birth mothers exploring adoption to contact us right away, at the time you first begin considering adoption for your child.
The adoption process for a birth father, or potential birth father, begins the first time you suspect you may be the biological father of a child, or first suspect that a woman you had sex with could be pregnant. A birth father’s role in adoption proceedings is very different than a birth mother’s role, for the biological reason that a birth father must first establish his paternity, or potential paternity, before he has a legal right to participate in the adoption process, or alternatively, attempt to prevent an adoption of a child that may be his. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial that a man who thinks he may have fathered a child, obtain the advice of counsel at his very first opportunity.
The attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, LLC are very experienced in paternity actions and actions dealing with father’s rights, but we can only help fathers who first ask for our assistance. A man that suspects he may have fathered a child can only prevent the birth mother from placing the child for adoption in a couple of ways, including, registering for a putative father registry while the woman is pregnant or very shortly after the birth, filing a paternity action immediately, completing a genetic test, or signing an acknowledgment of paternity so that he is included on the child’s birth certificate. The most important thing to know about these options is that all of these options have very crucial deadlines under the law, and if you miss a deadline, you may be forever precluded from exploring rights to your child. For this reason, a birth father should hire a competent adoption and/or custody attorney right away. The attorneys at Hoover kacyon, LLC have experience in both areas of the law and are willing to assist you in exploring all of your available options.
For birth fathers looking to place their child for adoption, either in connection with the birth mother also placing the child for adoption, or for separate reasons, legal counsel is also highly advisable, and sometimes absolutely required. A birth father as well may be asked to sign a permanent surrender agreement, placing their child in the custody of an adoption agency before an adoption is finalized. Alternatively, a birth father may be asked to sign a formal consent to an adoption proceeding, or an agreement for legal custody before or until an adoption is filed. In any event, a birth father should know they have a right to counsel, and should exercise that right immediately so that they are certain they know all options available to them. Often times, a birth father’s expenses in obtaining counsel for the purposes of an adoption can also be paid by the adoptive parents of the child, making the access to legal counsel affordable and feasible. For all of these reasons, the attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, LLC implore our birth father clients to engage an attorney right away, as soon as they first consider that they may be the father of a child.
Most often potential adoptive families ask, if I want to adopt, when do I need an adoption attorney? Do I hire an adoption agency first, or an adoption attorney? Do I wait until a baby is born and then rush to hire a lawyer? Or do I wait until I have a child placed in my home and then hire a lawyer to finalize my adoption? Do I wait for my adoption agency to tell me when I need to hire a lawyer?
Sometimes, we are retained by clients just as they begin their adoption journey. Many of these clients ask for our guidance in choosing an adoption agency, whether that be a local agency, an agency in another state, or an international agency. Other times, a client is already working with an agency but asks us to serve as an advisor to them as they discuss potential placement situations of a child in their home, before they agree to accept a child. Most often, our clients who engage us for this purpose are well aware of the high legal risk situations that can accompany adoption cases (or sometimes, they have heard the adoption horror stories on the news, or watch too many Lifetime movies), and want to engage our services early to work with their chosen adoption agency or identified birth parents. In these situations, as adoption attorneys working in conjunction with others on your case, we can advise along the process and help to minimize the risks. Clients often feel like this is big advantage to them as well, as we can help to give them the added assurances throughout the process, before they open their hearts and homes to a baby.
It’s also very common for us to be engaged by clients to serve as their adoption attorney after they have been chosen by birth parents to adopt their child and the child is born or about to be born, or also later on after the child has been placed in their home for some time. Lots of times, these clients come to use after being referred to us by the reputable adoption agencies we regularly work with. Still others find us from other personal or professional referrals, and some find us through an internet search. Regardless of how our adoptive family clients get to our door, we are happy to help in the finalization of an adoption proceeding.
To finalize an adoption, our role is to complete all of the necessary adoption paper work, including the official Petition for Adoption, and other court required forms, to work with any adoption agencies in obtaining and filing their paperwork required by the court, and in representing our clients at any and all court hearings. We also are very experienced in contested adoption proceedings, and the trials that may be required in those cases, as well as in appeals to higher courts in the event a client is unhappy with the decision of the court. Most times, we find our work in the finalization of adoption matters to be easy and a mere formality after a long journey that got you here; other times we are involved in very complex adoption situations where we are engaged in more active courtroom litigation that is not ideal. Either way, the attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, LLC are experienced in this unique field, along with all other related family law areas that may intersect with adoption proceedings.
Under the leadership of Attorney Corinne Hoover, the adoption practice at Hoover Kacyon is busier than ever, but we remain eager as ever to assist anyone through their adoption journey. We can be as highly involved and micro-managing of your adoption situation as you may wish; we can also be more hands off and only begin representation when you tell us its’ important to you. Whether you are a birth mother, birth father, or prospective adoptive family, we are happy to assist you in your adoption matter.
Attorney Corinne Hoover heads the adoption practice of our firm. The Ohio State Bar Association has certified her as a Family Law Specialist, a distinction shared by only a handful of other local attorneys. Because of this advanced certification, along with extensive experience in the field and a close working relationship with local adoption agencies, Corinne is uniquely prepared and qualified to serve as your adoption attorney. As well, Corinne is assisted in our adoption practice by our team of other attorneys, ensuring that someone is always available to handle your adoption matter. We understand that babies don’t wait to be born within the confines of normal business hours, and we are equipped to handle adoption matters on an emergency basis as well. Contact our office at (330)922-4491 or email Corinne directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an initial consultation to explore your adoption goals in detail.
For many of our clients seeking our adoption services, their matter is not one of a private or agency adoption but one where a step-parent is seeking to adopt the child of their spouse from another relationship. In these situations, our clients most pressing questions tend to be — how can my spouse adopt my child? What if the biological parent has not been in the picture for some time? Is a biological parent’s consent required before the step-parent can adopt? The answer is: it depends! Ohio law offers very specific guidance on these matters, but the facts associated with the factors can often be gray.
To explore the possibility of a step parent adoption, please call Hoover Kacyon, LLC and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your matter in detail. At the end of this consultation, your attorney can advise you as to the chances of success your case may have and offer a recommendation to you on whether you should proceed with a step-parent adoption case, the best timing to initiate your case, and whether there are any good alternatives to a step-parent adoption, if your matter may not be likely to succeed.
A little known area of Ohio adoption law is the adoption of an adult. The most compelling argument for an adult adoption is for inheritance purposes, so a person treating like a child can actually be a child for purposes of a will or other estate planning. Although these adoptions can be rare, they can also be done for emotional satisfaction when a person is nearing the end of their lives and want to feel that they have made legal a relationship which has otherwise been significant to them. In the event you find yourself in this situation and would like to consider an adult adoption, please call Hoover Kacyon, LLC to discuss your options.
To say the legal landscape of adoptions for same sex couples has changed would be an understatement. Rather, we now for the first time have a legal system that allows a same sex couple to adopt a child together, or allows a same sex step-parent to adopt their step-child. However, because same sex relationships have just been recently legally recognized in the State of Ohio, these adoption cases are not without complexities, and many involve brand new areas of the law. Regardless of your legal situation, the attorneys at Hoover Kacyon, LLC are experienced in this growing field and would be happy to consult with you on the particulars of your issue and to give you advice on how to handle your family law situation of this nature.
Also an emerging area of the law as a subcategory to adoption law is the issue of surrogacy, assisted reproduction and embryo adoption. These types of issues all stem from fertility treatments, where one or both parts of a couple may not be biologically related to a child, but will be considered that child’s legal parent, and “intended parent” for all other reasons. In these situations, it is absolutely crucial for all sides of these cases to be represented by separate, individual legal counsel. If you find yourself facing the uncertainty of these matters, please call Hoover Kacyon, LLC to speak with our adoption professionals about the need for legal representation, and all that such may entail, to ensure you have a smooth transaction prior to the birth of a child.