Adoption in New Jersey

The decision to adopt a child is a life-changing event. Parents wishing to adopt are filled with excitement and anticipation. Birth parents making the decision to give their child up for adoption often do so with great discernment and emotional energy. Once the decisions are made, it is vital for both sets of parents to consult with an experienced and reputable adoption lawyer who can ensure that the rights of each family and the child are protected. Our New Jersey adoption lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. are well versed and experienced with New Jersey adoption laws, and we will ensure that your adoption process is a joyful event.

The Rights of the Birth Mother

It is not easy for a person to make the decision of whether or not to place their unborn child up for adoption. There are many things to consider, such as prenatal care; medical and delivery costs; whether or not to be directly involved in choosing the parents best suited to adopt your child; and deciding what type of adoption to consider.

New Jersey law does not allow a birth mother to sign surrender documents before her child is born. Once the child is born, regardless if the child is being adopted privately or independently, the parents can sign the surrender document at any time. The document remains revocable until parental rights are terminated by a judge or until the parents surrender their rights in a courtroom. If the adoption is being handled by a licensed adoption agency, then the birth parent must wait 72 hours after the child is born to sign the surrender document, which is then irrevocable.

Parental Rights of the Adoptive Parents

The end result of an adoption should be one of joy and celebration, however, if state laws were not followed, the process could be jeopardized and result in a failed adoption. Consulting with a qualified and reputable New Jersey adoption lawyer is essential to ensure the rights of the adoptive parents are protected at every step in the adoption process.

Anyone 18 years of age or older can adopt a child in New Jersey as long as they are at least 10 years older than the child to be adopted. If the adoptive parent is married, both spouses must petition the court to adopt a child. New Jersey law requires parents to undergo a home study, which is a process that determines whether or not the parents are suitable to adopt a child.

A New Jersey licensed and approved adoption agency will conduct the home study and then confirm if the prospective parents meet the requirements for adoption under New Jersey law. Adoptive parents must be able to provide a safe and healthy environment, be nurturing, healthy enough to care for a child, and have an income that will support the needs of the child. Anyone living in the adoptive home, such as siblings or grandparents, will also be included in the home study.

The officials conducting the assessment will evaluate the readiness of the adoptive parents and home via on-site visits, interviews, and documentation. State and FBI background checks, child abuse registry checks, references from employers and personal associates, verification of income and employment, and other personal data are required to be submitted to the agency conducting the home study. Upon completion of the home study, the officials will submit a written report and recommendation to the court. A home study by a qualified agency is required for all adoptions, whether they be private, independent, or through an agency.

Finalizing the Adoption

Once the adoptive child has been placed in the home of the adoptive parents, they must file a Complaint for Adoption, which is a formal legal request to the courts to make the adoption final and permanent. There are certain laws that apply to this part of the process, and they are best handled by an experienced adoption lawyer. It is imperative that deadlines be met and compliance with New Jersey adoption laws are in place to finalize the process. At Lyons & Associates, P.C., we will accompany the adoptive parents to court at the end of the process when a judge formally finalizes the agreement.

New Jersey Adoption Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Represent Clients in all Areas of Family Law

If you are considering adoption or are a birth mother considering placing your child up for adoption, one of our New Jersey adoption lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help you. Our law firm is committed to making sure your adoption process is as efficient as possible and that your rights are protected.

Call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Somerville, Morristown, and Freehold, New Jersey and we serve clients throughout New Jersey, including Basking Ridge, Bedminster, Bridgewater, Chatham, Madison, Mendham, Morris Plains, Morristown, Parsippany, Randolph, Rockaway, Short Hills, South Plainfield, and Woodbridge, including Morris County, Somerset County and Union County.