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Adoption

Experienced Adoption Lawyer Helps Families in Easton and Vicinity

Sound guidance through every step of the legal process

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.

Pennsylvania law governing adoptions

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:

  • Medical costs related to a birthmother’s prenatal care, delivery and postnatal care
  • Childcare expenses from birth until the completion of the adoption process

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.

Various types of adoptions available to Pennsylvania parents

Prospective parents have a variety of adoption methods available. I have assisted parents with:

  • Closed adoptions — With this traditional type of adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth parents do not meet and are given very little information about each other.
  • Open adoptions — With this process, the adoptive parents meet the birthmother (and perhaps the father) and even help the birthmother through her pregnancy. Some arrangements allow for continuing contact between the birthparents and the baby.
  • Private agency adoptions — There are many not-for-profit corporations that are licensed by the states in which they operate to facilitate adoptions.
  • Foster parent adoptions — If you have a foster child whom you want to adopt, or if you want to adopt a child from the foster care system, you can apply to the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network. These children are at least 5 years of age, may be part of a sibling group and may have special needs.
  • Stepparent adoptions — To bring a blended family closer together, stepparents often adopt their partner’s children, but only if the other parent has passed away or has had parental rights terminated.

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.

Contact a concerned adoption attorney serving Easton and the vicinity

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.

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Office Location
  • Easton Office
    724 Lehigh Street
    Easton, Pennsylvania 18042
    Phone: 610-253-1023
    Fax: 610-253-4385