If you’ve decided to add to your family through adoption, or to seek legal protection for your relationship with a child you already love, Richard J. Shiroff is prepared to help. Adoption should be an occasion for joy, but too often the process is unnecessarily frustrating. Prospective parents encounter legal obstacles, unexpected expenses and even shady dealings. Having a knowledgeable adoption attorney to guide you can greatly reduce your anxiety. I have experience with various types of adoptions, so I can steer you clear of common pitfalls and help ensure compliance with all applicable laws. When your adoption is complete, you can have confidence that your parental rights are secure, and that the child you’ve welcomed into your home is truly yours.
Domestic adoptions throughout the United States fall under state law. Pennsylvania has some of the least restrictive adoption laws in the country. There is no age requirement for an adoptive parent, nor is there any marriage requirement. However, adoption agencies are permitted to set their own standards and enforce their own preferences for adoptive parents.
To be eligible for adoption, a minor cannot have any legal parents. Birth parents can voluntarily terminate their parental rights, and the court holds a hearing to confirm their consent to the adoption. If a birth mother wants to place her child up for adoption, but the father cannot be located or refuses to consent, the situation becomes more complicated. It is possible to complete a contested adoption in which you request that the court involuntarily terminate the father’s rights. The court will terminate rights if a father knew about the child but has been willfully absent and the adoption would be in the best interests of the child. Contested adoptions are naturally more expensive and time-consuming than uncontested adoptions.
Another legal area to be aware of is how much you are permitted to pay for birth parent expenses. In Pennsylvania, you are only permitted to pay:
The Pennsylvania courts review payments to ensure that there are no excessive or unnecessary payments. You must also be aware that a birthmother can change her mind after you have paid for birthing expenses, and state law does not enforce repayment if that happens.
Prospective parents have a variety of adoption methods available. I have assisted parents with:
Whatever your plans, I am able to provide reliable advice and counsel based on more than 35 years of family law practice. I work closely with you throughout the process to a successful conclusion.
Richard J. Shiroff provides meticulous legal services for Pennsylvania adoptions. Call me at 610-253-1023 or contact me online to schedule an appointment. My office is located at 724 Lehigh Street, just a short walk from the Northampton County Courthouse.