Westborough Adoption Lawyer
The decision to welcome a child into the family through adoption is exciting and monumental. Still, both domestic and international adoptions may involve extensive legal processes and requirements that can be difficult to navigate without experienced legal representation. Fortunately, with over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our team is up for the challenge.
Our Westborough adoption lawyers can explain the laws governing this process and guide you through any complications that may arise. Our dedicated family attorneys can provide competent legal assistance every step of the way so you can focus on preparing for the new addition to your family.
Who is Eligible to Adopt in Westborough?
State law requires any party interested in adopting to be over the age of 18. While the law does not establish an exact age for potential adoptive parents, some agencies may define certain age specifications for prospective applicants. Additionally, state law permits anyone to apply for adoption regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, gender, or any other characteristic.
Adoption With and Without Parental Consent
For a child to qualify for adoption, their parents are required to give up their parental rights. However, parents may not revoke these privileges unless a minimum of four days has passed since the mother gave birth. When a child is born to unmarried parents, the mother is required to give her consent to have her child adopted. In some situations, the court also may try to contact the birth father. If the birth father fails to respond, adoption may proceed.
Consent from the child’s parents is not needed in certain circumstances. Desertion, neglect, or abuse are situations that may justify an adoption without parental consent. When one of the child’s parents is a felon and is determined to be incapable of offering a secure environment, the court also may deem it appropriate to put the child up for adoption.
According to Massachusetts General Laws 210 §2, any prospective adoptee who is 12 or older must agree to the adoption for the matter to move forward. An attorney in Westborough could help prospective parents understand how this part of the adoption process works and determine what rules may be applicable to their case.
Adopting a child can come in many different situations. An attorney in Westborough could assist with all types of adoption, including closed, open, international, and domestic adoptions.
Closed vs Open Adoption
Closed adoptions are when there is no obligation to provide any information between the adoptive parents and the biological parents about the child. It is possible through a closed adoption for a child’s birth parents remain anonymous. These situations are common when couples are adopting a child from abroad.
In a closed adoption, the adoptive and biological parents may be aware of each other’s identity, but typically do not have any contact once the process is complete. If adoption is closed, this means that the records are kept private from the general public. If the adoptee wishes to find out about their biological parents later, they must prove to a judge that they have cause to be allowed access to the sealed records.
Conversely, open adoptions happen when the adoptive and biological parents are in contact before the adoption and may remain in contact afterward. In an open adoption, the biological parents can play a role in deciding who will adopt their child and the amount of contact or communication they will have with the adopted parents and the child after the adoption.
A common situation in an open adoption is when the biological and adoptive parents meet while the mother is still pregnant. The adoptive parents may even be at the birth. With open adoption, it is common for the biological and adoptive parents to remain in contact as the child grows up. Depending on the arrangements of the open adoption, the child may have consistent interaction with their biological parents.
We also have experience with contested adoptions. For example, after a grandparent had been granted guardianship of a child for close to ten years where the Mother had close to no contact with the child, the Mother suddenly decided she wanted the child back. We filed a petition for adoption as well as an opposition to the Mother’s request for the guardianship to be terminated. It was a highly contested matter that resulted in the grandparents winning the adoption.
International adoptions can be extremely complicated, which is why the assistance of an experienced lawyer can be highly beneficial. First, the child must be approved for adoption in their home country.
Then, the adoptive family would likely need to travel to the country where they are adopting the child from several times and stay for long durations before the adoption was final. As a result, international adoption can take anywhere from six months up to a year or longer.
During a domestic adoption, the prospective adoptive parents would need to go to the state where the child was born to acquire custodial rights and, in some cases, to complete the adoption process.
Depending on whether the adoption is open or closed, the prospective parents could meet the birth parents before finalizing the adoption. Domestic adoptions usually take around 12 months from beginning to end but could be longer depending on the specific scenario.
Speak with Our Westborough Adoption Attorneys
If you are considering adoption, it may be time to speak with our Westborough adoption lawyers. Our legal professionals can review your situation, advise what type of adoption may be right for you, and help you understand what the process may entail.
Additionally, our attorneys can get all documents filed correctly and review your agreement so that it contains the necessary provisions based on your specific circumstances. To discuss your adoption case with a lawyer, call O’Connor Family Law today.