Ohio Adoption FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about adoptions:

Q: Do I need to hire an attorney in order to adopt in Ohio?

Under Ohio law, in order to adopt a minor, you (or the parent placing the child for adoption) must hire an attorney to arrange the adoption unless you go through an adoption agency. Section 3107.011 of the Ohio Revised Code states: "A person seeking to adopt a minor shall utilize an agency or attorney to arrange the adoption. Only an agency or attorney may arrange an adoption."

However, even if you are pursuing a private adoption through an agency here in Ohio, it is still advisable to seek legal representation. The process can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with it, and it is easy to make mistakes or overlook important considerations that could interfere with your adoption.

The state of Ohio also requires an adoption assessor to be involved in every adoption. To learn more about adoption assessors, visit the Adoption Network Cleveland or the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (OCWTP).

Q: Can I hire an attorney to represent me and the child's biological parent?

No. Section 3107.011 prohibits attorneys from representing both the adoptive and biological parents during an adoption. But, even if this practice was not prohibited by statute, representing both sets of parents would inherently raise ethical considerations with regard to conflicts of interest that could require your attorney to withdraw from representing you or the biological parent.

If you would like to assist a biological parent with obtaining legal representation for your adoption, the law does permit adoptive parents to provide financial support for legal fees. The attorney you choose should have a clear understanding of the applicable restrictions and be able to ensure that your financial support arrangement meets the requirements of Ohio law.

Q: Is financial assistance available to individuals and couples seeking to adopt in Ohio?

Potentially, yes. Section 5101.143 of the Ohio Revised Code provides for the establishment of a state adoption assistance loan fund. All loan applications are reviewed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which has the authority to approve, partially approve or deny financial assistance applications. Adoption assistance loans may only be used for:

  • Products or services required for the birth mother's or child's sustenance or safety (including food, household goods and personal care items)
  • The birth mother's or child's costs of transportation to work or school
  • Expenses incurred in adopting through the public child welfare system

Q: Does Ohio law provide for adult adoptions?

Yes, but only under five specific sets of circumstances. Under Section 3107.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, an adult can be adopted if:

  • The adult is totally or permanently disabled
  • The adult has an intellectual disability
  • The adult consents to an adoption by a stepparent or a foster or kinship caregiver who had an established relationship with the adult when he or she was a minor
  • The adult consents to the adoption and was, on his or her 18th birthday, in a permanent custody or planned permanent living arrangement with public children's services or placement agency
  • The adult consents to the adoption and is the child of the adoptive parent's spouse (a stepparent adoption).

If you are considering an adoption of an adult relative or loved one, you will likely want to explore your options with regard to establishing guardianship as well.

Q: Where can I find more information about how to prepare for the adoption process in Ohio?

If you are considering an adoption and would like more information about how to prepare and what to expect during the process, we encourage you to read:

Have More Adoption Questions? Schedule A Free Consultation.

If you have more questions about adopting in Ohio, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. To speak with an adoption attorney at our Cleveland law offices in confidence, please call 440-462-1882, or request an appointment online today.