Connecticut Adoption Law Firm
Being able to offer a child love, care, and a roof over their head is one of the greatest gifts a person can ever give. But while adoption may be an intimate experience for both the child and the adults involved, it is also a legally intensive and highly technical one. At the law office of The Christie Law Firm, LLC, our Connecticut adoption lawyer is available to answer your questions about the adoption process and represent you throughout. If you are thinking about adoption or have questions and want to learn more, call The Christie Law Firm, LLC today for the support and advice you need.
Who is Eligible to Adopt a Child in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, the law permits any adult age 18 or over to adopt a child. If you are married and wish to adopt, both spouses must jointly adopt the child. The state does not discriminate based on marital status or sexual orientation, but private adoption agencies are permitted to have their own rules.
Convicted felons are not excluded from adopting, but the process may be more difficult for people who have a criminal record. Some disqualifying crimes include spousal or child abuse/neglect and violent crimes such as sexual assault and homicide.
Types of Adoptions
When most people think of adoption, they may think of the adoption of a newborn baby; however, there are multiple types of adoption, including newborn adoption, older-child adoptions, foster child adoptions, and stepchild adoptions.
- Newborn adoption. Infant adoptions are one of the most common adoption types, but these adoptions can still be very complicated. When pursuing an infant adoption, there are considerations about whether to adopt from within the U.S. or internationally, whether to have an open or closed adoption, and more. Talk to your attorney about any questions that you.
- Older-child adoption. While newborn adoptions are very popular, some parents decide to adopt older children who have been in the system for months or years. Adopting an older child is not for everyone and can be incredibly challenging, but it may also be one of the most incredible gifts you can give a child.
- Foster child adoption. Some people choose to foster-adopt before adoption, a form of adoption where a foster child is placed in the home and lives with the adult(s) for a period of time before an adoption takes place. This may be the case when the child is not legally eligible for adoption at the time that they are placed in foster care.
- Stepchild adoption. Finally, another very common type of adoption is stepchild adoption. This type of adoption may very well be the least complicated adoption type, and occurs when the parent of a child remarries and the new partner (i.e. the child’s stepparent) wants to adopt the child. Stepparent adoption is only legally possible when the biological parent who is not the child’s caretaker has waived their parental rights.
Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption in Connecticut
If you are considering adoption, you may have a number of questions about the adoption process, eligibility requirements, and how an attorney can assist you. Please consider the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that our law firm hears about Connecticut adoptions, but note that answers may vary based on adoption type and that it is always in your best interest to consult with a Connecticut adoption attorney before making any decisions or proceeding with an adoption.
Is there an age requirement to adopt a child in CT?
There is no legal age requirement to adopt a child within Connecticut as long as a person is a legal adult (18 years of age); however, note that if you are adopting through a private adoption agency, the agency could have specific requirements.
Can you adopt a child if you are single? What about if you are gay?
In Connecticut, an adult who is otherwise eligible to adopt a child will not be barred from adoption based on their marital status or their sexual identity or preferences. In other words, you can be married (so long as your spouse agrees to the adoption) or single to adopt in Connecticut and can be gay or straight.
What are the requirements to foster a child before adoption?
Some people may choose to be foster parents before adopting a child. If this is the case, there are eligibility requirements for fostering a child that an individual or a couple must satisfy. These include but are not limited to:
- Being at least 21 or older.
- Being able to provide a safe home.
- Being able to meet one’s financial needs.
- Being able to pass a criminal background check.
- Having a large enough home to accommodate a foster child.
- Attending a training program and completing an adoption home study.
Do you have to work with an attorney when adopting a child in Connecticut?
Regardless of the type of adoption that you are pursuing, working with an adoption attorney in Connecticut is absolutely essential. An attorney can help you to understand the various laws surrounding the adoption, including termination of the biological parents’ rights, laws for international adoptions, eligibility requirements for adoptions, and more. Whatever your circumstances, an attorney can provide representation along the way. Attempting to adopt a child without an experienced attorney can have negative consequences.
Why Do I Need an Attorney If I Want to Adopt in Connecticut?
If you’re on the fence about hiring an adoption attorney, here are some of the reasons why you should consider this step for your upcoming adoption:
- Informed Decision Making
Adoption is a wonderful process meant to put all participating parties in the best position possible. But people often fail to realize that it’s also a legal process with some strict requirements. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side will ensure that you understand the expectations placed on you so that you can make the most informed decisions possible.
- Paperwork Assistance
When you adopt a child, whether it is a newborn adoption, stepchild adoption, or foster child adoption, the amount of paperwork you need to complete can be overwhelming. Every form must be filled out correctly and must be submitted on time. Your adoption attorney will assist you in completing these documents and will answer any questions that require clarification.
- Court Representation
Many adoptions can require multiple court appearances. This prospect can be intimidating for most people. But you can rely on your skilled and trusted Connecticut adoption lawyer to make you feel more comfortable in these situations as they present your case before the judge.
- Advocacy with DCF
Some adoption cases in Connecticut involve the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF). Before a child can be legally adopted, the court must first terminate the parental rights of both birth parents. When DCF is involved in any capacity, your attorney can take the lead and advocate for your interests.
- Potential for Expedited Case
Depending on your individual circumstances and the applicable laws, your adoption attorney may be able to help you cut through some of the bureaucracy and red tape that is typical with these types of matters. Sometimes, having access to the right resources and a strong understanding of the process can help speed things up and eliminate any potential roadblocks.
- Handle Communication
When you adopt a child, you may need to remain in close contact with an adoption agency and/or the birth parents. Just because you’re adopting a child, that doesn’t mean you aren’t busy. Your attorney is in the business of handling these communications and will make them a priority. Further, these communications can sometimes be delicate and uncomfortable. Your attorney can handle these on your behalf, particularly when it comes to postadoption agreements or “open adoptions.” Before you agree to one of these arrangements, make sure your attorney explains your rights and obligations.
- Special Complications
If you are a military couple, trying to adopt internationally, or a single parent or same-sex couple working with a private adoption agency, it can help to have a savvy adoption lawyer in your corner. A qualified attorney will understand the Connecticut laws and how they apply to your particular situation.
How to Start the Adoption Process in Connecticut
If you are thinking about adopting a child in Connecticut, there are a few steps that you should take to initiate the process.
- Decide to adopt. The first part of the process is making the decision that you (and your partner if you are married) are ready to adopt. Once this decision has been made, you can proceed.
- Hire a Connecticut adoption lawyer. Regardless of the type of adoption you are pursuing, the first thing that you should do immediately after determining that you are ready to adopt is to hire a Connecticut adoption lawyer who has experience working on adoption cases like yours.
- Make tough decisions about the adoption process. During the adoption process, there are numerous decisions that you may have to make that can be challenging. For example, you want an open adoption, where the birth parents maintain some relationship with you and the child, or a closed adoption, where the connection is completely severed? Do you want to adopt internationally, or within the U.S.? If you are pursuing a stepparent adoption, has the child’s other parent agreed to terminate their parental rights, or will this be a legal battle?
- Prepare for the process. One of the steps in the process of pursuing adoption is to really understand each step that you will go through and what the process will look like after you have decided what type of adoption you are pursuing and have made decisions about what that adoption will look like. Your attorney can tell you what forms you will need to submit, whether you will need to comply with home visits and background checks, how long the process will likely take, and more.
Get Help from a Connecticut Adoption Attorney Today
At the law office of The Christine Law Firm, LLC, our Connecticut adoption attorney can answer your questions about adoption, assist you with your adoption case with a focus on adoption cases involving the CT Department of Children and Families (DCF), and offer support and guidance along the way. Call our firm today at (860) 461-7494, send us a message, or visit our Hartford office in person at your convenience.