Adoption Attorney in Anderson, South Carolina
Giving a child a forever home through adoption is a unique and special experience. Your commitment to the child will change their life and yours in more ways than you can imagine. Before you adopt, it is important to know the different types of adoption that are available in South Carolina.
Adoption is often a sensitive and emotional matter. It can also be legally complex. By working with a knowledgeable adoption attorney, you can be confident that you have the representation you need for the duration of the adoption process.
At David F. Stoddard Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing professional and personalized legal services. We are committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome in their family law needs. David F. Stoddard Law Firm proudly represents clients in Anderson, South Carolina, as well as Northlake, Liberty, Pickens, and throughout Greenville County.
Types of Adoption
There are several different routes you can take to adopt a child in South Carolina.
Adopting a child through the Department of Social Services will allow you to give a child who is in the foster care system a forever home. There are hundreds of children who are waiting to be adopted through the South Carolina Department of Social Services.
In this type of adoption, you will work closely with a private adoption agency to give a child a safe and loving home. Many times, infants are adopted through a private adoption.
An international adoption is a type of private adoption that allows you to take in a child who was born abroad. International adoptions have their own requirements, restrictions, and fees. Because of the legal matters involved in adopting a child from outside the United States, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney if you are considering international adoption.
A stepparent may wish to legally adopt their stepchild. Once the adoption is finalized, they will have the same rights as the birth parent to the child, which can often be helpful, especially in medical situations. Another key benefit of stepparent adoption is that it shows the child the commitment and permanent nature of the relationship.
For similar reasons, sometimes a stepparent or foster parent may want to adopt an adult child to legally establish their bond. If the adult consents, then the adoption will be straightforward.
Through a surrogate agency, it is possible to adopt a child carried by a surrogate. This type of adoption is significantly more expensive and involved than other types of adoption. The surrogate’s legal rights will need to be considered. Speak with a knowledgeable adoption attorney to learn about your options.
South Carolina Adoption Laws
Understanding the basics of South Carolina adoption laws will help you know what to expect.
Who Can Adopt?
Under South Carolina law, you do not have to be married, be a specific sexual orientation, or be a homeowner to adopt. You must be at least 21 years old to adopt a child. Other criteria may apply. If you decide to adopt outside the state system, look into your specific agency’s eligibility requirements.
The most important criterion is that you are able to financially and emotionally provide for the child.
Is Consent Required?
Both children and adults can be adopted under South Carolina law. If the child is over 14 years old, then they must give consent in order to be adopted.
Overview of the Adoption Process
Be prepared for the adoption process by knowing the basic steps in adopting a child.
Termination of the Birth Parents’ Rights
For a child to be legally eligible for adoption, his or her birth parents must give up their legal rights as parents. In some situations, such as a stepparent adoption, this may be more difficult than others. Consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to find out your next steps.
In South Carolina, the adoption specialist will conduct a home study to verify that your home is appropriate and safe for a child. There will also be inspections by the fire department and the Department of Health and Environmental Control when adopting through the state. Each agency may have its own requirements for the home study.
Attend a Class
Parenting is a major responsibility. To prepare for it, South Carolina requires that prospective parents complete a class. These classes are typically eight hours long on two Saturdays but may vary depending on the arrangements with your specific adoption agency.
Choose the Type of Adoption
Determining the type of adoption you are going to pursue is one of the most important steps in the adoption process. You will need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each type for your specific family situation.
Work With an Attorney to Facilitate the Legal Process
The adoption process will change the makeup of your family forever. Be confident that you have taken the right steps to protect your adopted child. Work with a knowledgeable adoption attorney to secure the legal guidance you need during your adoption journey.
Adoption Attorney Serving Anderson, South Carolina
Set up your new family for success by working with an experienced family law attorney. At our firm, David F. Stoddard Law Firm, we are passionate about providing our clients with the legal advocacy they need to move forward with their goals. David F. Stoddard Law Firm proudly represents clients in Anderson, South Carolina, as well as Northlake, Liberty, Pickens, and throughout Greenville County. Contact our firm today to schedule a free meeting.