Livingston Parish Intra-Family Adoption Lawyer

Livingston Parish Intra-Family Adoption Lawyer

Livingston Parish Intra-Family Adoption Attorney

An intra-family adoption occurs when a child is being adopted by members of their own family. If you are embarking on an intra-family adoption, it is important to seek a Livingston Parish intra-family adoption lawyer. An attorney will give you the guidance and aid you need to successfully navigate the potentially complex process of adoption.

Intra-family adoption includes situations where a step-parent wishes to adopt their step-child and situations where other close family members, such as grandparents, want to adopt a child whose parents cannot care for them. Like any adoption, intra-family adoption is a joyful way to bring your family close together and provide a child with both legal and emotional benefits. However, it also comes with its own legal complexities.

An intra-family adoption can give children a sense of security and belonging. At Magnolia Law, we know how important the process of intra-family adoption is for the entire family. We have aided many families in Livingston Parish and surrounding communities with the process of adoption.

We help ensure a smoother process so that you can focus on the joys of bringing your family together. Additionally, we understand state and local laws regarding adoption and can ensure yours is legally binding.

What Are the Adoption Laws in Louisiana?

In order to qualify to adopt a child in Livingston Parish, an individual must meet certain criteria. This includes:

  • Being a single person at least 18 years of age or married with a spouse listed as the joint adoption petitioner
  • Demonstrating financial stability
  • Providing a stable living environment
  • Having legal or physical custody of the child for at least six months prior to filing

If a step-parent is adopting a step-child and the biological parent had the child during a marriage, the biological parent is not required to join the adoption petition as a spouse and can instead provide consent for the adoption. However, if the biological parent had the child when they were not married, the biological parent must join in the petition for adoption. The child must also be under the age of 18 to be adopted in the state.

Qualifying for an adoption is not enough for an individual to complete the adoption. A family court must determine that the adoption is in the child’s interests before it allows it to take place.

When determining the child’s interests in other intra-family adoptions, the court looks at several other factors. These include:

  • The relationship between the child and the relative adopting them
  • The relationship between the child and their non-custodial parent who would not have parental rights to the child, the seriousness of severing that relationship, and the importance of that relationship

When a step-parent is married to the sole legal parent of their step-child, the court presumes that this is in the child’s interest. It is helpful to have an experienced adoption attorney by your side, as they can effectively advocate for your interests and explain why an adoption is right for your child.

What Is Considered an Intra-Family Adoption in Louisiana?

An intra-family adoption is typically any adoption between family members, provided that the adopting person and child are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or affinity through an individual who has parental rights to the child. If they meet the legal criteria to adopt, individuals who qualify for an intra-family adoption include:

  • Step-parents
  • Step-grandparents
  • Grandparents and great-grandparents
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Great aunt and great uncles
  • Siblings
  • First cousins

In Louisiana, an individual who has parental rights to the child is a parent who has:

  1. Formally acknowledged the child with written agreement from the other parent
  2. Been listed on the child’s birth certificate as a legal parent
  3. Established paternity through a competent court

When these familial ties exist between an adopting individual and a child, an adoption is considered an intra-family adoption.

Uncontested vs. Contested Intra-Family Adoption

It is not always legally required that a biological parent agrees to an intra-family adoption. However, it does make the adoption process easier.

An uncontested intra-family adoption occurs when the biological parent consents to the adoption and willingly relinquishes their parental rights via affidavit. Once the affidavit is completed according to law, the adoption can continue.

Once the adoption is completed, the biological parent has no parental rights or responsibilities to the child. The adopting relative now has parental rights and responsibilities. Once this process is complete, the biological parent cannot change their mind.

A contested intra-family adoption occurs when the biological parent will not provide consent for the adoption. There are certain situations where the adoption can still continue even without this consent. These include:

  1. When the adoption petitioner has been granted custody by a court; or
  2. The spouse of the step-parent petitioner has been granted sole custody and has exercised lawful custody rights.

In both of these situations, both of the following must also be true:

  1. The biological parent or other biological parent has been unwilling or unable to comply with court-ordered support with no reason for at least six months; and
  2. The biological parent or other biological parent has refused or been unable to visit, communicate with, or attempt communication with their child without reason for at least six months.

If these conditions are met, then consent from the child’s biological parent is not necessary to complete an intra-family adoption. These situations can get very complex, and families can benefit from qualified legal guidance.

Why Do I Need an Intra-Family Adoption Attorney?

If a biological parent doesn’t provide consent for the adoption, it can complicate the adoption process significantly. An attorney has handled these issues before and can effectively navigate them to determine if you have any legal options for adoption.

Even with the consent of a biological parent, the process of an intra-family adoption can be complex. An attorney can help you with legal filing and deadlines and ensure that the biological parent’s affidavit is legally binding.

An attorney is also useful for ensuring that the adoption process adheres to the child’s interests.

Work With Intra-Family Adoption Lawyers in Livingston Parish

At Magnolia Law, we are proud to help families in our community become closer together. Contact our firm today to learn more about intra-family adoption and see how we can help you with the process.