People typically spend $30,000 and up when adopting through an agency. Adoption is a hefty investment of time, money, and effort. It comes with an equal payoff that lasts a lifetime.
With so much on the line, you need to make sure that your adoption goes through correctly so that you can transition to your newfound parenthood. Having the help of an adoption attorney is an essential piece of the puzzle.
Here are eight questions that you need to ask an adoption attorney before moving forward with the process.
1. What Adoptions Do You Specialize In?
First, find out what kinds of adoption processes your attorney specializes in. This gives you a better picture of what they’re best at.
A few of the adoption types that people commit to include:
- Open adoptions in which the new family and birth mother have contact
- Closed adoptions in which the new family and birth mother have no contact
- Adoptions involving non-parental blood relatives
- Foster adoptions
- International adoptions
Understanding the lawyer’s specialty lets you choose them where their strengths lie. This increases your chances of success and can give you peace of mind.
2. What Are Your Credentials?
Find out the credentials of any lawyer that you’re going to work with. This lets you choose attorneys that are the best in their category. Consider their previous awards, press clippings, law journal contributions, and other notable achievements.
Aside from high-level accolades, make sure that the attorney is licensed and insured. Verify that the adoption law firm is also affiliated with your state’s bar association to make sure they are credible.
Doing this will give you the chance to hire a pro that is prepared for the job and great at what they do.
3. What Are Your Rates?
Once you find some attorneys that you can discuss your situation with, make sure that you also get a breakdown of their rates. A family lawyer might charge different rates depending on the extensiveness of your case. Adoption can take quite a bit of time, so make sure that their fee structure works in your favor.
For instance, some of these attorneys might bill you by the hour while others will charge a flat rate or retainer. Make sure that their rates are written so that you have some documentation to compare.
4. Could You Provide References?
Anytime you work with adoption lawyers, make sure to check their references. Doing this sort of homework is worth the effort because you’ll feel comfortable hearing other people’s success stories.
Professional adoption attorney services are as personal as it gets when you’re trying to hire a lawyer for anything. A lawyer with a solid reputation will also have no problem furnishing some references when called upon.
5. Who Will I Be Working With Directly?
You also need to make sure that you know exactly what lawyer you’re going to be working with. The adoption process involves several conversations and obligations, so you’ll need to gauge the lawyer that you’ll be having the most discussions with.
They’ll help you with everything from preparation to the adoption interview and background checks. Look up the individual attorney’s credentials and make sure that their philosophy aligns with what you’re hoping to accomplish.
6. Could You Walk Me Through the Process?
You also shouldn’t move forward with the adoption process until you understand it to the fullest. This only happens after you get clarity on all your questions. Work with an adoption lawyer that can walk you through each step of the process so that you have no issues.
The main steps of the adoption process that you’ll go through include choosing the type of adoption you’d like to engage in, discussing matters with the agency, mulling the costs, traveling to meet the child, and brushing up on the process through a home study.
Your lawyer will be able to explain the nuance of these steps so that you’re well-informed.
7. How Long Should It Take?
Your lawyer should be able to give you a ballpark estimate of how long you can expect the adoption to take. Each case is different, but they may have some insight based on other cases they’ve dealt with.
Understanding this timetable from your lawyer’s perspective is important since representing your interests is their priority.
8. How Many Successful Adoptions Have You Handled?
Finally, make sure that you also learn how many of these situations your lawyer has successfully navigated. The last thing you want is to feel like the lawyer you’re hiring is unprepared or ill-equipped. Find out how many of these adoption cases they handle all at once and how much time they have to dedicate to your case.
You’ll need the assistance of a lawyer that has the experience and open workload required to give your case the time and effort that it needs. Ask about their track record, how long they’ve been representing people in adoptions, and use this to make your best decision.
Work With an Adoption Attorney
These are the main questions you need to discuss with an adoption attorney when you’re getting ready to go through the process. Having the help of a credible adoption lawyer will give you the help that you need when you’re trying to make this life-changing dream come true.
Begin with these tips and your case will start off well.
Blake and Associates Law Firm can assist you with any adoption situation that you’re working on. Reach us by e-mail or give us a call at (706)724-7514 for help.