Perhaps one of the best gifts a family can receive is adoption. Thousands of children in the United States are waiting for loving families. Whether you are pursuing a private adoption, the adoption of a stepchild or grandchild, or a foster care adoption, it is essential to have legal representation.
In order to adopt a child in Alabama, you must be able to provide adequate housing in a good environment. A home study will be conducted to ensure that your home is appropriate for a child. You also must consent to a complete background check, including criminal history. You must be in good physical and psychological health and be over 19 years of age.
The adoption process can be complex and emotionally-charged. Having an advocate on your side will be helpful as you move through the adoption process. The Zwiebel Law Firm has handled many adoptions, and can clearly explain to you what will happen each step of the way. We can help you be prepared for any potential roadblocks and give you ways to avoid them, whenever possible.
Pursuing an out of state adoption or an adoption from another country adds an extra level of complexity. In addition to following the state laws of Alabama, you must also follow laws from another state or even another country. We can help prepare you and represent you to help your adoption proceed as smoothly as possible. The Zwiebel Law Firm is an adoption law firm in Birmingham, Alabama that can help you through every step of the adoption process. Our firm can help you with many different types of adoptions, including:
- Step-parent adoptions
- Related familial adoptions
- Same-sex adoptions
- Unrelated family-creation adoptions
- Same-sex adoptions
- Adoptions of foster children
Regardless of the type of adoption you wish to pursue, having a Birmingham, Alabama adoption lawyer on your side can make the process go as smoothly as possible. If you are interested in pursuing an Alabama adoption, contact us today either online or at 205-623-1001.
Step-Parent Adoptions in Birmingham, Alabama
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, step-parent adoptions are the most common type of adoption. Step-parent adoptions give the new parent new responsibilities regarding care for the child, while terminating the rights and responsibilities of the non-custodial parent. Every state has its own specific requirements for step-parent adoptions. In Alabama, for example, the step-parent must be legally married to the custodial parent of the child. Step-parent adoptions can be more complex, because the non-custodial biological parent rights must be terminated. What are some grounds for terminating parental rights? In some cases, you may only have to show the courts that the non-custodial parent abandoned the child or failed to provide financial support for the child. In this case, the termination of parental rights upon your remarriage and step-parent adoption can be established. It can be helpful to have an adoption lawyer like the Zwiebel Law Firm in Birmingham, Alabama on your side when establishing the termination of parental rights. In other cases, you may be able to establish a termination of parental rights if you can show that the other parent has not been in contact with the child, show that the other parent has a history of child abuse or neglect, or show that the father believed to be the child’s parent is not the biological father. In Alabama, there may be additional requirements in order for a step-parent adoption to be finalized. Children over 12 years of age may be permitted to give consent for their adoption.
How do you file for a step-parent adoption in Alabama? You must complete a questionnaire, sign adoption forms, and send an official notice to the parent whose parental rights will be terminated. Then, you must have all consent forms properly signed, and possibly undergo a complete background check. In some cases, a complete home study may also be required. However, in step-parent adoptions, there are cases where parents may be able to skip the home study or background check requirements. The Zwiebel Law Firm are Birmingham, Alabama adoption lawyers who can determine which requirements you’ll need to meet to finalize your Birmingham, Alabama step-parent adoption. Contact our firm today to begin the process.
Related Familial Adoptions in Birmingham, Alabama
There are several cases where relatives may choose to move forward with a related familial adoption in Birmingham, Alabama. Relatives, like a grandparent or aunt, may choose to adopt a child who would otherwise enter the foster care system. What are some cases where a relative may choose to adopt a child in their family?
- After the death of a parent
- When a parent has substance use issues and is facing the loss of the child to the foster care system
- Parental financial difficulties
- After a conviction of child abuse or neglect
- After a biological parent abandons the child
- Physical or mental health problems in the biological parent
There are also other reasons why a relative might choose to adopt a child. If a parent is in failing health or has a terminal disease, the parent may choose to terminate their parental rights so that a relative can adopt their child. By terminating your parental rights and allowing a relative to adopt your child before you pass away or become incapacitated and unable to make the decision, you ensure that your wishes regarding your child’s care are honored by the courts. Other parents may choose to terminate their parental rights to provide certain financial and social benefits to the child. A relative who has access to health insurance, a good school district, and financial resources may adopt a child so that the child can get legal access to these resources.
Who qualifies for a relative adoption in Alabama? Under Alabama law, only relatives who are related by blood to the child can pursue a related familial adoption in Birmingham, Alabama. These relatives include:
- Great grandparent
- Great aunt
- Great uncle
- Half sibling
Generally, related familial adoption in Alabama is a more simplified process than other adoption types. Relatives may be permitted to skip a home study and the background check, if they qualify. However, Alabama may require that the child have resided in the relative’s home for at least a year before the adoption. Yet, this requirement can be waived in some cases. When seeking to finalize a related familial adoption in Birmingham, Alabama, the relative will need to show that the other parent has abandoned the child or committed an act that would terminate their parental rights. When it comes to related familial adoptions in Birmingham, Alabama, this is often the most complex aspect of the adoption process.
The Zwiebel Law Firm are adoption lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama who can assist relatives through every stage of the adoption process. If a relative is facing losing his or her child to foster care, a relative adoption may be able to prevent this from happening. Contact our related familial adoption attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama today to begin the process.
Unrelated Family-Creation Adoptions in Birmingham, Alabama
There are many different types of adoptions in Alabama. One type of adoption is an unrelated family-creation adoption. In this case, the adopting parent is unrelated to the child. Unlike step-parent adoptions, where one parent marries the unrelated parent, or familial adoptions, where a grandparent or aunt may adopt the child, in unrelated family creation adoptions, parents may adopt a child who is unrelated to them. In some cases, the unrelated children are adopted from local agencies, and in other cases, families may adopt orphans from other countries or states. International and cross-state adoptions can be more complex because they may involve the laws of other states or countries and these laws must also be followed. Regardless of where the child originally resides, unrelated family-creation adoptions involve many steps, formal paperwork, and formal procedures, including a background check and a home study. According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, in order to adopt you must meet some basic requirements, including:
- Be 19 years old
- Be married for at least 3 years, if married
- If married, one person in the marriage must be a U.S. Citizen
- Prove that you have adequate housing for the child
- Prove that you are healthy enough to meet the needs of a child
- Undergo a complete background check
- Complete adoption education programs in Alabama
Once you have met all requirements, you will then be placed on a waiting list to be matched with available children for adoption in Alabama. If you wish to adopt from another state or abroad, the process will differ. Once you have been matched with your child, you will undergo the process of legally adopting. It can be helpful to have a qualified adoption lawyer, like the Zwiebel Law Firm in Birmingham, Alabama on your side during every step of this process. Our firm can help you understand potential challenges and address any roadblocks that may arise.
Same-Sex Adoptions in Birmingham, Alabama
Recently, changes in Alabama law make it possible for LGBT couples and single individuals to adopt. If you are in a same-sex marriage, partnership, or are a member of the LGBT community and wish to adopt, consider speaking to the Zwiebel Law Firm, adoption lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama. If you are in a same-sex partnership, there are many avenues toward adoption. If your partner is the biological parent of the child, you can pursue adoption through a step-parent adoption. Female couples may pursue this kind of adoption method where one parent is the biological mother of the child and the father of the child terminates his parental rights, so the mother’s spouse can adopt. In a marriage where there are two fathers, one father may pursue non-familial adoption, and then later the other father will pursue a step-parent adoption. Step-parent adoptions can be essential to protecting your legal parental rights. Sometimes LGBT couples have a child and are married, but don’t always realize that if another biological parent is involved, one parent in the marriage may not have established parental rights.
In some cases, both you and your spouse may wish to pursue a joint adoption. Joint adoption involves the same processes any other couple would need to undergo in order to adopt a non-familial child. If you are planning to pursue adoption, consider speaking to the Zwiebel Law Firm, adoption lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama today.
Adoptions of Foster Children in Birmingham, Alabama
Many children who end up in foster care in Alabama are never returned to their biological families. Adopting a child through foster care is a great way to grow your family and provide a permanent home to a child in need. When you adopt a child through foster care, the child will generally be older—from the toddler years to age 21. Parents who choose to adopt children through foster care should be prepared to help a child who has likely undergone serious trauma through abuse, neglect, abandonment, or through the loss of a parent. Some families choose to foster before they adopt to determine whether the child is a good match for their family. Others may choose to adopt directly from the foster care system.
Whether you want to adopt directly or would like to get your license to foster first, Alabama requires parents to undergo stringent background checks, home studies, and other procedures. The Zwiebel Law Firm are adoption lawyers in Birmingham, Alabama who can help you navigate this sometimes-complex process. Contact our firm today to learn more.
Want to Adopt? What You Need to Know
Whether related or not related to the potential adoptee (child to be adopted), you may adopt them as your own legal child. Step parents are able to adopt the children living with them and their spouse after 1 year of residency with the child with or without consent of the biological parent if that biological parent has failed to maintain contact and support for their child. Related adoptions occur quite frequently when a niece, nephew or grandchild is being raised by someone in their family other than their biological parents. This adoptive parent may want to legally adopt their relative as a legal son or daughter to provide them with inheritance rights or even just to make their family unit together. Same-Sex adoptions occur when a same-sex partner has a child and wishes for their same-sex partner to be the parent of their child they may have undertaken to conceive together through scientific means. We handle adoptions of all types. Whether it is adding to your existing family or to make a new family, we understand the desire to make a family bond with a child. The Zwiebel Law Firm are adoption attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama who can help you navigate this important legal process.