There are many different kinds of adoption in Indiana. Our law firm handles all of them. Most adoptions fall into one of the following categories:
* Step parent adoption;
* Domestic newborn/infant adoption;
* Second parent adoption;
* Relative or grandparent adoption
* Foster parent adoptions (usually free of charge).
Step Parent Adoption
In many homes, a loving stepparent may be the only mother or father a child knows and plays a significant and needed role in these children’s lives. In some cases, the next step for these families is for the stepparent to legally adopt the child as their own. This grants the stepparent legal parental rights and allows them to help make decisions for the child. These adoptions become particularly important should the unexpected occur. If something were to happen to the biological parent, legally the child would be given to the other biological parent (even if they are not involved), the next biological relative or even the state, rather than the stepparent who has been a parental figure the child’s entire life. That stepparent would not be given custody, parental rights or decision-making authority, and he or she would not be guaranteed any contact with the child.
At FRANCIS & BERRY DOMER, our lawyers advocate for stepparents seeking to adopt their spouses’ children. We offer expert guidance in navigating the legal process in obtaining parental rights.
Our firm will help to resolve issues with the uninvolved biological parent and secure the consent for the adoption. Should any disputes arise or threaten to interfere with the process, we know how to overcome these issues and offer solutions for a positive outcome.
When a parent consents to a stepparent adoption, the consenting parent’s child support terminates upon the issuance of the Decree of Adoption.
Domestic Newborn/Infant Adoptions
In conjunction with our partnering adoption agency, Heartland Adoption Agency, Francis & Berry Domer has helped many caring couples and families expand their families with a new addition. We will handle all of the legal work necessary to complete your adoption and will help make the adoption process as painless as possible.
If you are already acquainted with a mother and know you would like to adopt, please call our firm at (812) 336-8300 to schedule a consultation. To inquire about being placed on an adoption wait list, please contact Heartland Adoption Agency at (812) 355-5437 or visit the website at http://www.heartlandadoptions.com/.
Second Parent Adoptions
Through a second parent adoption, a parental figure may legally adopt a child, even if he or she isn’t married to the legal or biological parent and even if they do not live in the same household as the child. This option is often a good solution for unmarried gay and lesbian couples and also frequently helps a grandparent adopt his/her grandchild without the termination of their child’s parental rights. We have also done many adoptions where an involved aunt or uncle adopts a child when one of the biological parents has become uninvolved with the child.
The attorneys at FRANCIS & BERRY DOMER provide advocacy for couples who need a second parent adoption. We can handle all aspects of these adoptions, including termination of a biological parent’s parental rights. Other steps need to be taken before securing the second parent adoption, including a home study, background checks and other measures to ensure the child’s safety. Our partnering adoption agency, Heartland Adoption Agency, can often help you accomplish these steps for you. After these steps are completed, we can guide you through the process of filing the petition for adoption and represent you in the final court hearing.
Our lawyers are very familiar with the courts and have good relationships with area judges. We strive to complete the adoption process for clients as efficiently and effectively as possible and are skilled at preparing clients for every step in the legal process.
Relative and Grandparent Adoptions
In some situations, a relative or grandparent may have assumed responsibility for a child and now wants legal authority to make decisions for the child, particularly in education and medical circumstances. While there are guardianship options available, it is often more effective to seek an adoption if the parent(s) will no longer be able to provide care to the child.
Regardless of the circumstances causing the relative or grandparent to seek adoption, our firm can provide the legal guidance needed to help the child become adopted. Unless the parent passed away, it will be necessary to get the legal parent to consent to the adoption or have their parental rights terminated through court proceedings. Our lawyers can handle these negotiations or proceedings. We often do grandparent adoptions where the biological parents have drug addiction issues or can not or will not pay child support to support their children, a/k/a deadbeat parents.
In cases where a relative or grandparent wants to assist with the raising of a child, but does not wish to adopt, we also offer assistance with guardianships which can be a temporary solution.