St Louis Adoption Lawyer
Adoption is a great way to grow your family and give a child a stable and happy home. All cases involving adoption require adoptive parents to follow strict legal procedures, including determining the parental status of biological parents, terminating the birth parent’s rights, and completing the necessary licensing, training, and inspection processes.
A St. Louis adoption lawyer could help prospective parents take the required legal steps to grow their families. For help with adopting your spouse’s child, consider reaching out to a family law advisor from our team.
The Rights of Biological Parents
Biological parents always have the right to retain custody of their children. However, the law allows birth parents to waive their parental rights and consent to an adoption.
This surrender must be submitted in writing before either a judge or a notary public. Additionally, it must include the signatures of two witnesses. In general, these waivers are irrevocable.
On the other hand, a mother may also waiver her parental rights as soon as 48 hours after the birth of her child. A St. Louis adoption attorney can help an adoptive parent prove that a biological parent no longer has any rights to the child.
The Court’s Ability to Terminate Parental Rights
In circumstances where allowing a biological parent to retain their parental rights would harm the child, a family law judge may elect to terminate those rights without the parent’s consent. According to Missouri Revised Statutes §211.447-5, a juvenile court may terminate parental rights if the biological parent:
- Abandons the child
- Abuses or neglects the child
- Suffers from a chemical dependency
- Has a record of committing domestic abuse
- Consistently fails to provide the child with proper food, clothing, or shelter despite being financially able to do so
Meeting State Requirements
Even if an adoptive parent is able to show that the child’s biological parents have surrendered their rights under the law, they must still meet the court’s requirements for adoption. The State will background check and a child abuse/neglect check.
Finally, an adoptive parent must submit a petition for adoption through the St. Louis court with the help of a qualified legal ally. These processes are very similar whether a person is looking to adopt a stepchild, nephew, niece, or grandchild.
A St. Louis Adoption Attorney Can Help Your Family Grow
Adoption involves a precise legal process that requires prospective parents to take certain steps and follow certain procedures. You must ensure that the biological parents no longer have legal custody rights, submit to state training programs, and cooperate with all relevant background checks and home visits.
You will also need to submit a petition to the court to make the adoption permanent. A St. Louis adoption lawyer from our firm can help you satisfy the strict legal requirements and gather the necessary documentation to make the process as smooth as possible. Contact our team today to learn more.