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Adoption Lawyers In Foley

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Adoptions in Alabama are governed by section 10A of Title 26, Code of Alabama, 1975. The probate court presides over adoption hearings, although the juvenile court may be involved in adoption hearings for the purposes of adjudicating parental rights where a parent fails to give consent or is unwilling to consent to a proposed adoption.

Generally speaking, any adult person may petition to adopt a minor, but certain conditions must be met before an adoption will be granted. The first requirement comprises of consents or relinquishment affidavits from all parties required to consent or relinquish under section 10A.

About Mutual Consent for Adoptions

The mother of the minor must either consent to the adoption or relinquish the child for adoption. If the minor is age 14 years or older, he or she must also consent to the adoption. Likewise, the putative father must consent or relinquish in most situations. In some scenarios, the father’s consent may not be required; for example, if the father receives notice of the adoption in the manner prescribed by § 10A-26-17, Code of Alabama, 1975 and he fails to respond within 30 days of such notice, then such consent or relinquishment will be implied.

Consents or relinquishments are also not required of a parent:

  • Who has been adjudged incompetent
  • Whose parental rights have been terminated
  • Who is a deceased parent, a father denying paternity
  • Who has relinquished the minor to the Department of Human Resources
  • Where the natural mother declares that the natural father is unknown unless the natural father makes himself known to the court

Adoption Process for Alabama

To initiate an adoption, the adopter must file a petition with the probate court. The petition is required to state the full name, age, and residence of each petitioner and whether the petitioners are married. It must also state the following information about the adoptee: Birth name, proposed new name, date, place of birth, the residence of the adoptee, and if the residence is not with the petitioner then the petition must state when the petitioner expects to establish custody.

Once residence of the adoptee has been established with the petitioners, the court will issue an interlocutory decree, which grants custody to the petitioners pending a final hearing. If the child is not a relative or a stepchild of the petitioner then a pre-placement investigation must be performed in order to assess the suitability of the home.

At the final hearing, the court will grant the adoption if it finds through clear and convincing evidence that:

  • All required consents and relinquishments have been obtained
  • The child has been in the home of the petitioner for the prescribed time period
  • The court finds that it is in the best interests of the child that the adoption occurs
  • Notice has been properly given in accordance with § 10A-26-17, Code of Alabama, 1975

Hire an Experienced Adoption Lawyer in Foley

Caldwell, Wenzel & Asthana is a family business—we understand the emotions behind such sensitive family law matters. We are dedicated to walking you through the entire adoption process, explaining your unique legal options, and ensuring the end result is what’s best for your family. Backed by more than 25 years of combined legal experience, we have the knowledge and skills necessary to help you resolve your adoption needs in a timely and professional manner.

Call (251) 444-7000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with our attorneys. We proudly serve Daphne, Spanish Fort, Fairhope, Foley and all of Alabama.

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