Adoption creates a new family, offering stability to a child that cannot be cared for by the child’s natural parents. Relatives may step in to assume the care of a child after a family crisis. Couples may choose to adopt a child in need, either locally or from another country. A stepfather or stepmother may adopt the child of their spouse. Each situation is unique, but the overall goal is to benefit the child.
Legally, adoption is the process that terminates the parental rights and responsibilities of the child’s birth parent(s), transferring them to the adoptive parents. The process is fairly complex; consulting an adoption lawyer in Oahu is considered beneficial.
Family Court judges grant an adoption based upon the following criteria.
• Grandparents or aunts and uncles often choose to become parents when the children need them. An adoptive parent does not have to be married.
• If a married couple, both parents must agree to the adoption.
• A stepparent can adopt if married to the child’s legal parent.
• All necessary consents have been signed.
• Adoption will benefit the child.
Consent adoptions are the least complex because the required consent forms are signed by the birth parent(s) and the child, if older than ten years of age.
Non-consent adoptions can become complicated, but are definitely possible. All of the following criteria must be met prior to approval of the adoption by Family Court.
• The birth parent(s) cannot be located or they refuse to give their consent. When the location of a birth parent is unknown, a legal notice must be published four times in a newspaper with a general circulation.
• The birth parent has not contacted the child or paid support for over a year.
• The adopting adult has been living with the child longer than a year.
The adoption process requires certified copies of these documents:
• The child’s birth certificate
• The marriage certificate of the proposed parents
• A divorce decree, if either had been married previously
• Hospital birth records.
It will often take about six to twelve months for the adoption to be final. An experienced adoption lawyer in Oahu from Greg Ryan & Associates understands the importance of adoptions. They focus on making the process as timely and efficient as possible. Visit the website to learn more and request a consultation.