Adoption is a serious step that no person or couple should take without considering the consequences. On top of what it will mean for a family to add a new member, it is also worth considering the necessary legal steps that a party must take to make the adoption final. The familial and legal benefits of adoption are significant. An adopted child becomes the full heir and legal ward of the adoptive parents. Additionally, those parents have full rights over the child as if the child was born to them.
An Oklahoma City adoption lawyer from The Smith Firm could help guide individuals and couples through the adoption process. Our experienced family law attorneys can also provide information as to how adding an adopted child changes the legal rights and obligations of all involved parties.
Pursuing an adoption in an Oklahoma City court requires a prospective parent to prove two things. The first is that they are qualified to be a parent. Under Oklahoma Statutes § 7503-1.1, any person over the age of 21 can be an adoptive parent; however, this is not the end of the qualifying factors.
Prospective parents must also complete the Oklahoma Department of Human Services program. This begins with submitting a formal request for more information about the adoption process. In addition, the Department will conduct a series of interviews and background checks to determine a prospective parent’s suitability to bring a child into their home. A seasoned Oklahoma City adoption attorney could help guide prospective adopters through these processes.
The second thing that prospective parents must prove is that no biological parent still has rights to the child. This can be the product of a voluntary surrender to the State or when the court has acted to terminate a parent’s rights. It falls to a prospective adoptive parent to prove these facts, though, a proactive legal professional from The Smith Firm could take the lead in obtaining this evidence.
The purpose of adoption is to place a child with a loving and nurturing family. However, the impact goes far beyond the obvious of giving a child a new home. The legal effects of adoption are also significant.
As far as the law is concerned, an adopted child is no different from a biological one. This means that the child enjoys the rights of heirs to their parents’ estates. Additionally, if a married couple adopts a child and later divorces, that child can expect to receive child support from a non-custodial parent.
The benefits and obligations also extend to parents. An adoptive parent has every right to fight for child custody in case of a divorce and to expect child support from the other parent. At the same time, that parent can assume that the child will be a beneficiary in insurance policies or wills. A knowledgeable adoption lawyer from our firm can provide more information about the legal effects of adoption on parents and children in Oklahoma City.
Choosing to adopt can be a wonderful way to expand your family and give a child a better future. However, merely wanting to adopt a child is not enough to make this a reality. Even initially qualified parties must convince both the court and the Department of Human Services that they would provide a good home for the child. This includes proving that biological parents no longer have any rights over the child.
An Oklahoma City adoption lawyer at The Smith Firm may be able to help you. Our dedicated team of attorneys can help you complete the qualifying factors to adopt a child as well as gather evidence that shows biological parents no longer have parental rights. In addition, they can provide more information about the legal effects of adoption on both parents and children. Contact us today to explore your options.