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Family Lawyers in Columbus Aid Clients in Adopting

Experienced Indiana adoption attorneys help families grow

Welcoming an adopted child into the family is a joyous event. But navigating the complex adoption process can be stressful and frustrating. At Thomasson, Guthrie, Schuh-Ogle & Happel, P.C., in Columbus, our Indiana family lawyers have decades of experience assisting individuals and families with adopting children in various circumstances. We can make the procedure easier for you as we attend to meeting all legal requirements and resolving any difficulties that may arise.

What is the process for adopting a child in Indiana?

Indiana adoption procedures vary according to the type of adoption and whether an agency or other organization is involved. In general, adoption requires that you file an adoption petition with the probate court, undergo criminal and other background checks, pay the specified fees involved and cooperate with an in-depth home study that examines your suitability as a parent. You may also be required to take parenting classes. Once all prerequisites are satisfied, a judge reviews the adoption petition and makes the final decision. Our family law firm provides prospective adoptive parents with guidance throughout every step in the process.

What are the different types of adoption?

There are several different ways you can adopt a child. What is most appropriate for you depends on your circumstances and your goals for your family. Here are the principal types of adoptions and how they work:

  • Agency adoption — A state agency or private organization licensed by the state matches children with prospective adoptive parents.
  • Independent adoption — The adoptive parents and birth parents arrange the adoption among themselves. These adoptions are also known as private or open adoptions.
  • International adoption — The laws of Indiana and the laws of the child’s country of origin both apply. The adoption must also meet the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention.

Every type of adoption has its own procedures and qualification standards. Our Columbus lawyers can answer your questions about the legal requirements for any type of adoption.

What factors are considered in adoptions?

You must be 21 years of age or older to adopt. You can be married, divorced or single. The main factor that will be considered in determining your qualifications is the best interest of the child. Among the factors that could disqualify you are not having appropriate housing or space for the child, being financially unstable, having medical conditions that could impede your ability to care for a child or having been convicted of certain crimes. We can advise you about how your personal situation may affect your eligibility.

What are the benefits to adopting a stepchild and how does the process work?

If you marry someone with a child, your adoption of the stepchild can strengthen your family bonds. Adoption is beneficial when it comes to health insurance benefits, inheritance rights and other practical concerns. It also serves to grant child custody rights that allow you to make important decisions for the child’s welfare and upbringing. Your spouse and the child’s other biological parent must agree to the adoption, although consent of the other parent is not necessary in certain situations. If your stepchild is over 14, he or she must also consent. If everyone is in agreement, the adoption may be finalized once the paperwork and background checks are completed. If the other birth parent does not agree, then it becomes a contested adoption that must be resolved by the court. In either case, our attorneys will work hard to try and get a positive adoption outcome.

Contact a knowledgeable family law firm for help adopting a child

At Thomasson, Guthrie, Schuh-Ogle & Happel, P.C., in Columbus, our family lawyers assist clients with all types of adoptions in Indiana, including agency, private and stepchild adoptions. To schedule a consultation, call our firm at 812-565-5041 or contact us online.