Family Member Adoption
Family Member Adoption Attorney in Chester County, PA
Family member adoption is the most common domestic adoption in the United States. When children are up for adoption; family members are usually the top prospective as adoptive parents.
Whether you are the child’s grandparents, uncle, aunt, or other relative, it’s wise to consult with an attorney before you embark on the adoption process. They can ensure all the necessary steps are taken so the process can go as smooth as possible.
Family Member Adoption Attorney in Chester County, PA
The nature of adopting a family member is more sensitive than adopting a non-relative. You may be adopting the child because their birth parents have passed, or they are no longer fit to be parents. Regardless, you shouldn’t go through the adoption process without an adoption attorney.
The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices will ensure all the necessary paperwork is filed and represent you in court if need be. We know how important this adoption is to you, and we want to be with you every step of the way.
Call (610) 692-8700 to schedule a time to speak with Ciccarelli Law Offices or submit your information in the online contact form. We represent clients with family member adoption in the greater Philadelphia Metro including Chester County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County and Montgomery County.
- How do you Adopt a Family Member in PA?
- Pennsylvania Adoption Laws
- Termination of Parental Right
- Additional Resources
How do you Adopt a Family Member in PA?
The process of adopting a relative is more straightforward than adopting a non-relative. By adopting a family member, you will not be required to locate an adoption agency, and you will not be required to complete a home study. This keeps the overall cost of adopting a family member low.
To initiate the adoption process, a background check will be required of the adoptive parent(s). The three background checks that are required include a child abuse history clearance, PA State Police criminal record check and an FBI criminal background check.
You will also need the consent of the natural parents. Once that is obtained, it can be attached to the adoption petition. Once all the necessary paperwork is filed, you will attend an adoption hearing. This hearing is typically a matter of ceremony.
The process of adopting a relative is also much faster than adopting a non-relative. The finalization hearing typically takes place within 60-90 days after the adoption process has begun.
Pennsylvania Adoption Laws
Pennsylvania has some of the least restrictive adoption laws in the country. It allows for any individual to be an adopting parent and for anyone to be adopted, regardless of his or her age or residence.
The state allows for LGBT couples to adopt and does not require the adoptive parents to be married. If you plan to adopt a child who is older than 12, section 2711 of the PS will require the adoptee’s consent to the adoption. You will also be required to obtain the consent of the adoptee’s birth parents and have their parental rights terminated.
The birth parent’s consent is not required if their parental rights have already been terminated.
Termination of Parental Rights
One of the hardest aspects of adopting a family member is having the birth parents terminate their parental rights. Having the birth parent’s parental rights terminated is only required when the adoptee is younger than 18.
When parental rights need to be terminated, it can be done in one of two ways: voluntary and involuntary.
Voluntary termination: Birth parents are given the opportunity to voluntarily give up their parental rights. This can be done once the adoptee has been under the care of the adult(s) that wish to adopt the child for a minimum of three days.
Involuntary termination: There are circumstances where a parent’s rights can be involuntarily terminated. These circumstances are stated in section 2511 of the PS, and they include:
- Failed to perform parental duties for at least six months
- Repeated and continued incapacity, abuse, neglect or refusal of the parent had caused the child to be without parental care, control or subsistence necessary.
- The father is the presumptive, but not the natural father of the child.
- The parent is the father of the child as a result of rape or incest.
- The whereabouts of the parent are unknown, and the child has been in custody of an agency for three months.
- The child has been removed from the care of the parents by court order or voluntary agreement with an agency for at least six months, and the conditions that lead to the removal still exist.
- In the case of newborns, the parent does not reside with the child, has not married the child’s other parent, had failed for four months to make continuing contact and has failed to provide substantial financial support for the child.
- The parent has been convicted of criminal homicide, aggravated assault and the victim was a child.
- The parent is found to have committed sexual abuse against a child.
Once the parental rights of the birth parents are terminated, she or he will not have the legal right to make decisions on behalf of the child. As the child’s new parents, you have control over of the former parent’s visitation rights and communication with the child.
Family Member Adoption Resources in Chester County, PA
Involuntary Termination | Pennsylvania Statutes– Follow this link to read the full text of the statute that governs the involuntary termination of parental rights in Pennsylvania. You can learn more about other factors the court takes into consideration when terminating parental rights and the right to file personal and medical history information. The code can be read on the Pennsylvania General Assembly website.
Voluntary Termination | Pennsylvania Statutes– Visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly website to learn more about voluntary termination of parental rights. You can read about when you can petition the court to have the rights terminated and the required consent.
Adoption Lawyer in Chester County, PA
Adopting a family member is a lot easier than adopting a non-relative, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go through the process without an attorney. The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices are experienced with family adoption in Pennsylvania, and they will do everything they can to make sure the process goes as smooth as possible.
To schedule a free case consultation with Ciccarelli Law Offices, then call (610) 692-8700 or submit your information in the online contact form. We assist clients with family member adoption in areas that include West Chester, Philadelphia, Kennett Square, Springfield, Malvern, King of Prussia, Radnor, Plymouth Meeting and many more.