Adoption in the United States is a long, complex, and emotionally taxing experience. This is true, regardless of whether you’re going through an adoption agency or adopting a child privately. Indeed, anyone going through the adoption process will want to appoint an South Carolina adoption lawyer to help defend their legal rights throughout the process. In this article, we look at what adoption attorneys do, when you need to hire one, and how to ensure you appoint the best adoption lawyers in South Carolina.
What Is an Adoption Lawyer?
South Carolina adoption lawyers are licensed legal professionals specializing in the legalities of adoption matters and the transfer of parental rights from one family to another. Their primary role is to help the parents looking to adopt a child through the process, ensuring their legal rights are met and making the complicated process more straightforward. However, in some cases, they can also help support the biological parents of the infant or child. Many adoption lawyers have a broader practice that covers several other family law matters alongside their specific expertise in the adoption process.
What Does an Adoption Attorney Do?
In most cases, the role of an South Carolina adoption attorney is to help the people wanting to adopt a child. They work with the prospective parents throughout the entire process, from finding an appropriate adoption agency and communicating with them, on their behalf, to negotiating the terms of the adoption. In fact, adoption attorneys will do the following:
Find an adoption agency or private adoption for the expectant parents.
Advise their clients on how to meet all contractual commitments.
Negotiate the terms of the adoption.
Handle any disputes in the process if or when they arise.
Represent their clients at any required court hearings.
Ensure the legal rights of the prospective parents are kept.
Provide legal advice to help the parents make the best decisions.
When To Hire an Adoption Lawyer in South Carolina?
There is no requirement to hire an South Carolina adoption lawyer, and some families may choose to navigate the adoption process alone. However, adoptions are complex and come in all shapes and sizes. For example, a step-parent adopting a child that belongs to their partner might be easy to complete. But foreign adoptions that have two different adoption laws get complicated. The type of person you are and your previous experiences will also determine whether you would benefit from hiring an South Carolina adoption attorney.
Below are just some examples of when you’d want to hire an attorney:
You have previously failed to adopt in the past.
You are confused with the adoption process and have been asked to sign paperwork you don’t fully understand or are questioning the legitimacy of.
You are concerned about understanding your legal rights and completing deadlines on time.
You believe you are facing discrimination which is impacting your adoptive rights.
You want to adopt a child quickly and can’t afford to make mistakes that will result in significant delays in the adoption.
How Much Does the Average Adoption Lawyer Cost in South Carolina?
The cost of a lawyer for adoption in South Carolina is hugely dependent on the type of adoption you are looking for. The costs also vary depending on which law firm you go with, how experienced the firm is, and the jurisdiction in which you live. With that being said, most will charge an hourly fee of around $200 to $300 per hour. Others will charge fixed fees for the entire legal process. This latter option is preferred by many, as it enables the expectant parents to budget, but this is usually only ever available for uncontested cases.
Do Adoption Attorneys Usually Charge for Consultations?
Some of the best adoption lawyers in South Carolina will offer free consultations to discuss your situation and see whether or not you’ll be a good fit working together. Others will charge a fixed consultation fee. This is often set at their hourly rate. It all depends on the law firm, but this is something you can discuss on your initial phone call.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Adoption In the US Difficult?
Yes, adopting a child in the US can be difficult. The adoption process is long, complicated, and emotional. Many children in care have specific emotional needs that need to be met, besides the thorough monitoring of the new parents to ensure they’re capable of looking after the child. However, with the help of an South Carolina adoption attorney, the process becomes easier.
What Is the Difference Between Agency and Private Adoption?
An agency adoption involves adopting a child through a licensed adoption agency, with no direct contact with the biological parents. On the other hand, a private adoption bypasses the agency as an intermediary, and the adoption is directly between the birth mother and prospective parents.
Are Private Adoptions More Expensive Than Agency Adoptions?
Yes, private adoptions tend to be considerably more expensive than agency adoptions. This is because adoptions that go through an agency receive financial help from state and federal programs designed to make the process more affordable for prospective parents.