For many individuals, adoption is the process by which a child is legally brought into another family. This may occur in the hopes that the child’s new family can provide them with the safety and care that every child is entitled to. However, not every adoption means that the child is no longer with their family. Intrafamily adoption occurs when a member of the child’s own family seeks to gain custody of that child. An Ascension Parish intra-family adoption lawyer can help with this process.
At Magnolia Law, we know that this can occur for a number of reasons, including:
The goal is to keep the child with their family and feeling safe and secure. This complex process can raise many questions, but our Ascension Parish intra-family adoption team is here to help.
Family members in Ascension Parish seeking to adopt a child through intra-family adoptions must meet the minimum qualifications. Because these individuals will be tasked with the long-term care of the child, the legal system wants to ensure that the child will be taken care of in an environment that meets their needs. To qualify, an individual must be:
If they are married, their spouse must also agree to the adoption.
If they meet those qualifications, they must then be able to prove that they have the financial means and stability to provide for the basic needs of the child. Finally, the adoption can only take place as long as the child is under the age of 18.
In some cases of intra-family adoption, the biological parent is still a part of the child’s life. This can further complicate the process if they are not in agreement with the adoption. However, the adoption may be sought because the family member feels that the parent may not be able to properly care for or provide for the child. If a family member wishes to take on the responsibility of caring for the child, they should work on an agreement with the parent to do so.
A parent who is willing to cooperate will sign an affidavit in the presence of a notary that gives up their parental rights. Once this process is complete, the parent cannot change their mind, and the adoption can move forward.
If the parent is unwilling or unable to cooperate, the legal process becomes more complicated. It is wise to navigate the situation with the help of a knowledgeable attorney. There could be any number of reasons why a parent is unable or unwilling to sign the affidavit. Commonly, this happens if the parent is deceased or has abandoned the child.
Adopting a child from within the family, with or without parental consent, can complicate the family dynamics. This is especially true if other family members don’t agree with the adoption or want to adopt the child themselves. It is important that, once the process is finished, the family takes time to adjust to the new structure.
Families should work to connect and share stories that can build positive relationships between the different family members. The family’s home life will change, and learning each other’s quirks and lifestyle can help reestablish what “home” is like going forward.
Some families may benefit from the assistance of an individual or family therapist who can help guide conversations that build new family norms and expectations. They can also help process the emotional toll that the adoption process can take.
A: Stepparents are allowed to adopt the child of a parent to whom they are or were married. The marriage must have been legal, but the stepparent does not need to have the consent of the other biological parent. While consent can make the process easier and speed up the timeline, it is not mandatory as long as the stepparent meets the qualifications for adoption and the court approves.
A: For an intra-family adoption, you must be at least 21 years of age. Finally, you must be able to prove that you are a legal citizen of the United States.
A: After meeting with an experienced attorney to file a Petition, you should expect the process to include a home study by the Department of Children and Family Services to ensure that your home is safe and secure for the child and a background check in each state you have lived in.
Making the decision to adopt a child from within your family can be complicated but decisively right. Knowing that you will provide that child with a safe and secure forever home can help alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety for that child and your family. No matter the circumstances, if you are involved in an intra-family adoption, contact the experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney at Magnolia Law. Our team supports our clients so they can support their families.