Adoption Procedures Attorney Ocean County, NJ
Helping Adoptive Parents in Monmouth County including Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, and Brick.
Deciding to become a parent is one of the most important decisions a person can make. Some people have always known that they want to be a mom or dad, while others may not be ready or able to be a parent and decide to adopt later in life. In either of these circumstances, adoption may be the best option. If you are choosing to adopt, there are some things you should know.
What is the Legal Authority Authorizing Adoptions in New Jersey?
Adoption can be a wonderful opportunity for both baby and parent, but there are important legal issues that must be addressed to avoid any potential pitfalls. The law recognizes the birth parent as the legal parent and guardian. Thus, adoptive parents have no legal right to the child unless and until the birth parent surrenders her parental rights through a legal document. Lawyers familiar with adoption can assist in this process and the drafting of these documents. Sometimes, the legal process is already started before the adoptive parents enter the picture, as the birth mother may already know that she wishes to use the process of adoption. In any case, strict adherence to New Jersey law is necessary.
New Jersey Title 9:3-41 is the statutory authority permitting parents to surrender their legal rights to a child. A birth mother is considered to have given up all rights to her child when she signs a document acknowledging this surrender. If a father denies paternity, under Title 9, his rights are automatically terminated. More importantly, adoption will not be final or considered legal if the surrender occurs before 72 hours following the birth of the child. Prior to the 72 hours, the birth mother may have already chosen the parents for her child or discussed options with the would-be parents. Nevertheless, the adoption will not be legal if the final decision to adopt was made prior to the 72 hour period.
Adoptive Parents May Be Asked to Cover Certain Medical, Legal, and Placement Costs Required
In addition to having the right to choose the parents, the birth mother may opt to ask the adoptive parents to cover certain expenses. New Jersey Title 9:3-39.1 recognizes that having a child is costly and it allows for certain expenses to be paid by the adoptive parents. Specifically, the adoptive parent can be financially responsible for the birth of the child, the placement of the child, medical care received by the birth mother for prenatal and post-natal care, and legal service fees associated with the adoption. Many parents may be concerned that, despite paying for all of the expenses, the birth mother could change her mind about the adoption.
Can a birth mother change her mind?
The uncertainty and finality of the adoption cause many mothers extreme emotional distress, and rightfully so. Birth mothers can, in fact, change their minds before signing the legal document surrendering their rights. In this case, the adoptive parents may sue the birth mother for any costs and expenses that they incurred in the process of adoption.
Surrender Must Be Completed in Accordance with the Law
Additionally, and sometimes more concerning, is the fact that the birth mother may change her mind after she signs the surrender. If the surrender was done in accordance with the law, then she cannot legally change her mind. With this in mind, following all proper legal procedures is very important in securing the adoption. However, no legal proceeding can protect an adoption that was done fraudulently or through misrepresentation. If an agency uses fraudulent tactics to secure the adoption, the consent to adopt can be overturned by the courts. Provided that there are no problems with the paperwork, the adoption can be finalized at a court proceeding, which effectively removes the birth mother’s right to reverse her decision to surrender her rights to the child’s adoptive parents.
Do adoptive parents have to go to court to finalize the adoption?
Adoptive parents will file a complaint about adoption most likely in the family court in the county in which they reside. Under certain circumstances, the complaint may be filed in the county in which the child was born or where the adoption agency is located. At the court hearing, the adoptive parents, the child, and the attorneys will appear and the adoption will become final. Adoption days in the courthouse are some of the most joyous events attorneys and litigants ever experience, as these days are essentially where new families begin.
Contact an Experienced Toms River NJ Adoption Attorney Today
If you are considering the adoption process, you should speak with an experienced attorney who is well versed in handling these specific Family Law issues. Protect yourself and your child by making sure that all legal procedures will be followed. Attorney Peter J. Bronzino has successfully guided many families through adoption and has enriched his own life in the process.
At our law office, we believe in developing a trustful and attentive relationship with our clients. We´ll make sure that you are well-informed with straightforward legal advice, so you can make the best possible decisions regarding your family and your future.