Adoption Attorney in Denham Springs, Louisiana
Adoption is a journey. For some, it offers an opportunity to create a family. For others, it provides a way to make a family larger. The journey is an emotional experience, and some pass more smoothly than others. In the end, it is all about providing for someone you don’t want to leave behind.
At the Law Office of Ivy L. Graham, we get to know our clients personally. After all, how can we take such a personal journey with you if we don’t understand who you are?
If you are considering adoption in Denham Springs, Albany, Holden, Colyell, or Livingston, Louisiana, we have the experienced legal guidance to help you.
What Types of Adoption Are There in Louisiana?
The adoption journey can take six different paths in Louisiana. Which type you choose to pursue will depend on your personal circumstances and your reasons to adopt.
A state adoption is through the Department of Social Services. The children are typically older than infants but are still minors in the state’s foster care system.
Private adoption is facilitated by a private adoption agency. They are required to obtain an adoption certificate from the state before they can legally complete a private adoption.
An intrafamily adoption is often the quickest adoption because the people qualified to adopt are related to the adoptees by blood, adoption, or a relationship to the birth mother, such as in a step-parent adoption. This includes adoption by a step-parent, grandparent, step-grandparent, aunts, uncles, siblings, and first cousins.
International adoption is the adoption of a child born in another country. These are usually facilitated by an agency, governmental or private, in the child’s country of origin.
A surrogacy adoption is required when a couple has a third party as the birth mother. The birth mother may be implanted with the fertilized eggs from the couple or be inseminated with the father’s sperm. In either case, the birth mother still must relinquish her parental rights after the birth so the adoption may proceed.
Adult adoption is typically sought to pass a legacy on to the adoptee. Upon the death of the adoptive parent, the adoptee would be entitled to the same rights to inherit the estate as any other heir.
What Are Louisiana’s Adoption Laws?
Adults ages 21 and older are eligible to adopt in Louisiana. You do not need to be married to adopt a child. You can be single, widowed, or divorced. However, a married couple must file a joint petition for adoption, so they both become legal parents.
For any child to be eligible for adoption, the biological or presumed parents must agree to terminate their parental rights, or the court must do so despite their wishes. The birth mother and biological father must have their rights terminated. However, the paternity of a child is not always clear. That is why Louisiana also requires termination of rights of a father alleging that he has parental rights. An example would be a person presumed to be the father because they were married to the biological mother during the child’s birth or a father of a child born out of wedlock.
If an agency has custody of the child, it must provide consent. If it does not, the court can overrule if doing so is in the best interest of the child. If either of the biological parents are under age 18, their parents must provide consent for adoption. There is no requirement that a minor child provides consent for their adoption.
What Is Involved in the Adoption Process?
After the termination of parental rights, prospective adoptive parents, as well as other members of the household, must submit to a home study conducted by a person licensed to perform them. Law enforcement would conduct a criminal background check on the prospective parents. The purpose of the study is to determine whether the household is a safe place for the child to be adopted. The result of a successful home study is a certification of adoption issued by the Department of Social Services, which gives the adoptive parents 12 months to proceed with an adoption. Otherwise, the home study would be required to be repeated.
The prospective adoptive parents must complete a parenting class called “A Journey Home,” offered by the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services.
Once you have been approved to become an adoptive parent, you will need to choose which type of adoption you wish to pursue. Because the adoption process is a legal one, you need to work with a family law attorney who has experience representing clients in adoptions. The earlier you retain an attorney, the smoother the process will be. Your attorney can advise you regarding the requirements and challenges of adoption and help you navigate the legal process from start to finish.
Adoption Attorney Serving Denham Springs, Louisiana
Adoption should bring joy to parents and families without legal issues. The law is geared toward protecting the best interests of the children. At the Law Office of Ivy L. Graham, we will advocate for your best interests. If you are considering the adoption journey in Denham Springs, Albany, Holden, Colyell, or Livingston, Louisiana, our team can seek to accompany you. Call the Law Office of Ivy L. Graham for trusted legal guidance.