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Adoption Lawyers in Hamilton County, IN
Whether you are interested in adopting a baby, adopting a family member or stepchild, or have questions about another type of adoption, we recommend calling GDS Law Group to speak with an experienced adoption lawyer. Our firm is proud to help individuals in Noblesville, IN become parents for the first time or expand their family. By working with us, you can be confident that you will have the knowledge and guidance you need throughout the adoption process.
We want to help you get started on adopting a child in Indiana as soon as you’re ready. Contact a Noblesville, Indiana family law attorney today at (317) 550-5339, or reach out through the online form to schedule a free consultation of your case.
Indiana Adoption Laws
Laws regarding adopting a child in Indiana are found in Title 31 of the Indiana Code. There are many laws you must adhere to during the adoption process, which is why we recommend working with an Indiana adoption lawyer from the very beginning.
The laws that most concern you though are in regard to who may be an adoptive parent, who may be adopted, and the legal process you must follow to finalize an adoption in Indiana.
To be able to adopt a child in Indiana, you:
- Can be single, married, or divorced
- May or may not have biological children or previously-adopted children
- Must have the financial means to raise a child
- Must have room in your home for a child
- Must pass a fingerprint and background check
- Must fulfill educational and training requirements
One of the most important elements of adoption requirements in Indiana is that the child must be eligible for adoption. This means:
- You have the biological parents’ consent
- The biological parents’ rights have been terminated
- You do not need the biological parents’ consent due to a legal exception
You cannot adopt a child when one or both of the child’s parents still have their parental rights and will not consent to the adoption.
Whether you are interested in adopting a specific child, or you wish to pursue adoption through foster care or someone other means, you should speak with an adoption attorney. You need to understand when a child is eligible for adoption, and when the child’s parents may regain custody. This is most often an issue when you arrange to adopt a newborn from a mother and father who have parental rights, or when you wish to adopt a child in foster care. A parent of a newborn could change their mind shortly after the child’s birth, and a parent of a child in foster care may regain custody if their circumstances improve.
Types of Adoption in Indiana
There are numerous types of adoption in IN, including:
When you choose to adopt in Noblesville, Indiana, you may go through a private or public agency. There are many adoption agencies in Indiana, and it can help to talk with an adoption lawyer to determine which one may be right for you.
There are several ways in which stepparent adoption differs from other forms of adoption in Indiana. One difference is that you do not need prior approval for placement of a child in your home when you are adopting a stepchild you already live with.
When you file a petition to adopt your stepchild, the non-custodial parent must be notified – even if he or she is not involved in the child’s life. This gives the other parent the opportunity to contest the adoption.
If the non-custodial parent does not consent to the adoption, and they retain their parental rights, then you would need to prove during a court hearing that the adoption can proceed without their consent. With the help of a lawyer, you would need to prove:
- The parent abandoned the child for a minimum of six months
- The parent has not supported the child for a minimum of one year
- The parent has failed to significantly communicate with the child for at least one year
- The parent is unfit
Private adoption in Indiana encompasses all types of adoptions that do not go through an agency. Our lawyers at GDS Law Group are highly experienced in private stepparent adoptions, kinship (relative) adoptions, same-sex partner adoptions, and other adoptions that forgo agency assistance.
If you wish to adopt a child who was born and resides in a foreign country, you should work with an experienced lawyer and agency. When you adopt a child from overseas, you must adhere to U.S. and Indiana law, the child’s birth nation’s law, and international treaties. The adoption process is much more complex than if you adopted a child within the state, or even another state in the U.S.
How to Adopt in Indiana
If you are interested in adopting a child who is currently unknown to you, then the overview of the adoption process includes:
Deciding on a private or agency adoption.
If you want to go through a private adoption without an agency, contact an adoption lawyer. If you wish to work with an agency, you must choose which one is right for you. Our lawyers at GDS Law Group can help you decide which route is right for you, and which agency best aligns with your values. If you choose to work with a public or private agency, then we will help you complete the adoption application.
Completing your training.
Most agencies require you to complete some amount of education or training to become an adoptive parent. The Indiana Adoption Program requires 26 hours of training.
Completing the Family Preparation Assessment.
This assessment is more commonly known as a home study, during which you prepare to welcome a child into your home, and a social worker visits to determine if you are ready. Home study requirements can differ between private and agency adoptions, and between different agencies.
Waiting to be matched with a prospective adoptive child.
It can take some time for an agency to identify the right child for you and your family. When an agency does match you with a child, it is important to understand the biological parents’ current rights. Have their parental rights been terminated? If not, do you need their consent?
Monitored legal and physical child custody.
Once you agree to a child being placed in your home, you will go through a period of monitored custody. During this time, a social worker will visit your home to see how the child’s adjusting.
Filing the adoption petition.
If the period of monitored custody goes well, the adoption agency recommends finalizing the adoption. If the biological parents’ rights have been terminated or they consent, then it is time to file the adoption petition in court.
Finalizing the adoption.
If all of the paperwork is in place, the child is eligible for adoption, and you wish to proceed, the judge will finalize the adoption and make the child a lawful member of your family.
Let Our Adoption Attorneys Help Your Grow Your Family
Whether you are ready to begin the adoption process or are interested in learning more about adoption in Indiana, call us at GDS Law Group right away. We want to help you decide if adoption is right for you. If it is, we are happy to guide you through this journey. Call us today at (317) 550-5339, or reach out through the online form to schedule a free case consultation and get started.