Looking to grow your family through adoption? There are some details you should be aware of. Each state’s adoption laws may vary, and depending upon the method of adoption you’re looking at, the process may be more complicated than you’d expect.
It’s important to have an advocate who will work with you through the adoption process and offer explanations and guidance each step of the way. An adoption attorney can help handle complicated paperwork. Our firm is a tireless advocate for children and has over 20 years experience in helping families grow through the joy of adoption. As you begin to consider your options, reach out to our firm for assistance in understanding the different types of adoptions.
READY TO ADOPT?
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ADOPTION
There are many different ways when it comes to adopting a child, and some of them may not be applicable in Missouri. Below are some of the most common methods of adoption.
Parents traditionally make any and all legal decisions about their child’s welfare. In some cases, however, a child may require a separate person to make decisions because perhaps his/her parents are incapable or unqualified to make legal decisions. Guardians are appointed by the court. A guardian can be chosen by family, another person caring for the child can step forward and initiate guardianship for a child in need, or a third party may be chosen to be the person to apply for guardianship, for example, if the child is in foster care.
WHAT ARE A GUARDIAN’S RESPONSIBILITIES?
The guardian attends to the direct physical well-being of the minor and his/her assets. In addition, the guardian provides a legal residence, enrolls the child in school, provides for the child’s health and welfare, insures the child, applies for public benefits for the child, if necessary, and can make child care arrangements for the child, if needed, among other things.
Most guardians do not receive money for providing for the child. If the child was in foster care and is living with the guardian as a result of that time in foster care, the guardian may receive a monthly stipend for the benefit of the child and the child may qualify for the state-sponsored health insurance, depending on the circumstances and length of time the child was in foster care.
A good rule of thumb is that guardians provide whatever care a parent would usually give to their child.
HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT GUARDIANSHIP?
HOW ARE GUARDIANS CHOSEN?
Guardians should always be chosen with the child’s best interests in mind. Courts will usually prefer it if the guardian has some kind of connection with the ward, including:
- being chosen by the ward
- a parent or other relative
- a private person or state employee familiar with them
If the child’s parents are still alive, they must be deemed unable, unfit, or unwilling to look after their child’s interests before a guardian may be appointed. If adoption is not viable at this point, guardianship may be a suitable alternative. Many states allow for children who are fourteen years old or older to select or voice their preference over who will be their guardian.
WHEN DOES GUARDIANSHIP END?
In Missouri, in most cases, guardianship ends when the child turns 18. Exceptions occur and would need to be considered on a case by case basis. If the child is incapacitated in some way – physically or mentally – the guardianship might need to be reinstated after the age of 18 and, instead of the guardianship being due to the fact the child is a minor, it would be based on the now-adult’s incapacity.
CHILD ABUSE & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Feeling safe is of vital importance, whether you are an adult or a child. Certain behavior or acts committed against a child or an adult may justify an order of protection. We can help evaluate your circumstances and advise as to the best next steps to take in your particular case. Our experienced trial attorney is well- equipped to fight to protect you and your children.
There are a variety of reasons someone may want or need a name change. Some children do not want to be saddled with the name of a father that is uninvolved and/or engaged regularly in criminal behavior.
An adult may want to distance herself from prior spouse or partner, if an earlier name change has occurred. Some women decide not to restore a former last-name when getting divorced and, later, regret that decision. Some people want or need to distance themselves from someone that has been abusive and a name change is a good way to accomplish that goal.
So long as the name change is not being sought to avoid creditors, it is usually an option that is available, legally.
We can help evaluate your particular circumstance and advise on best next steps to take in this regard. If a name change is legally feasible, our office can help you achieve this goal.