Adoption is a wonderful way to expand one’s family, but the process can present certain challenges. Regardless of the circumstances, a decision to pursue adoption should be carefully considered and planned over time.
If you are seeking to adopt a child or an adult, a Montgomery County adoption lawyer can help. A seasoned family law attorney understands the complexities of the state’s laws and can work toward a successful case.
Types of Adoptions in Montgomery County
Adoption is the legal process for an adult to assume the role of a parent. State law recognizes three kinds of adoptions, specifically public agency, private agency, and independent adoptions.
Agency adoptions involve licensed businesses regulated by the state that typically employ adoption counselors to work with adoptive parents. In an independent adoption, the adoptive family hires legal representation and often another intermediary for assistance in locating a child and filing a petition. A dedicated attorney in Montgomery County understands the essential differences between agency and independent adoptions and can help prospective parents choose the best option for their family.
Open Versus Closed Adoptions
State law provides for open and closed adoptions, which refer to the amount of contact permitted between the birth mother and the child after the final adoption. In an open adoption, all parties are aware of each other’s identity, and the child can have some form of contact with the birth mother, siblings, and sometimes the extended family. This contact might range from exchanging letters to unsupervised visits.
In a closed adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth mother typically remain anonymous, so the child does not have any communication with the birth mother or family. An understanding lawyer could explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type of adoption and help prospective parents in Montgomery County make this difficult decision.
Adopting a Child in Montgomery County
Adoption begins with filing a petition according to Maryland Rule 9-103. Any married or unmarried adult who is not the child’s natural parent may petition to adopt. Importantly, if the birth parents can be located, they can consent or object to the adoption, and if the child is at least ten years old, they must also agree to the adoption.
After the petition is filed, the local Department of Social Services or a private agency conducts a home study of the prospective family. After the court has reviewed the study and all other relevant information, a judge conducts a hearing and will either grant or deny the petition.
Applicable Tax Credits
The federal government offers credit for qualified expenses incurred in domestic and international adoptions. Qualifying expenses may include legal fees, court costs, and travel expenses. If the child has special needs, the parents may qualify for the full adoption credit even if they did not pay adoption expenses.
To qualify for the credit, prospective parents must be adopting a child under age 18 or a person of any age who is unable, due to physical or mental disability, to care for themselves. A knowledgeable local lawyer can help parents determine their eligibility for this tax credit.
Learn More from a Montgomery County Adoption Attorney
Adopting a child is both an emotional and rewarding experience for a family. A skilled Montgomery County adoption lawyer can help prospective parents navigate both routine and complex adoptions, including adopting a special needs child or a child from a foreign county. The goal is to make the process as smooth as possible for the family and the child. Reach out to the team today to discuss your options and next steps.