Selecting an Attorney in Adoption Matters
When you are considering adoption, your best guide is your adoption attorney. Your attorney should understand the complex legal requirements and should answer your questions, ensure your legal rights are protected, and provide support throughout the process. How do you find the right attorney?
- Timing. Contact an attorney as early as possible in the process.
- Experience matters. Your attorney should have a great deal of experience handling adoptions and should be experienced in the type of adoption you are considering. Ask what percentage of their practice is dedicated to adoption. Ask how many similar cases he or she has handled in the past year or in the past five years. Ask how those cases turned out – were they successful? Were there roadblocks? The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) requires that its Fellows have extensive and diverse experience in adoption matters and the AAAA Directory is a great place to start to find an experienced adoption attorney.
- Research your attorney. See what others have to say about your attorney. Google them. Look at their website and check out their reviews. Look on Facebook, and other social media sites to see what other families have to say about the attorney, and ask local adoption-related organizations for referrals. Talk to others who have adopted and get referrals. Ask lots of questions.
- Communicate. Talk to your potential attorney via phone or in person. Ask how the process will work and any other questions you may have. Do you understand the answers? Do your communication styles fit? Make sure you find someone you trust and with whom you will enjoy working. Again, ask lots of questions.
- Costs. Understand the cost of the adoption you are considering including legal fees.
- Don Francis and Michelle Domer are both members of AAAA.