Protecting your rights & safeguarding your children’s future
Cleveland Adoption Attorneys
Helping Cleveland Families Achieve their Adoption Goals
Adoption can help many different people, including the adoptive parents, step-parents, the child, and the biological mother. Each party in an adoption has certain rights and responsibilities, and it is always a good idea for prospective adoptive parents to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that the process goes smoothly and in accordance with Ohio adoption laws.
Types of Adoption in Cleveland
There are several different types of adoption in Ohio, and an experienced adoption attorney can help you choose the type is best for your family. These types of adoption are as follows:
Domestic public adoption
In a public adoption, the child in question has been removed from the home of their biological parent due to neglect, abuse, or other issues. The children involved in public adoptions may range from newborns to teenagers, may include children with special needs, or may consist of groups of siblings adopted together.
Domestic private adoption
In a private adoption, the child is not under state custody. Private adoptions can either involve a direct agreement between the birth mother and the adoptive parents, or may have someone serving as an intermediary between the parties. Most private adoptions tend to involve infants.
Foreign adoptions obviously involve adopting a child from a different country. The children involved in foreign adoptions are usually toddlers or older.
When a custodial parent marries someone who is not the biological parent of a child, the new stepparent may adopt the child or children and take over legal and financial responsibilities from the non-custodial parent. This type of adoption generally requires consent from the non-custodial parent, unless that parent has been unjustifiably absent from the child’s life or has had parental rights terminated.
An open adoption involves an agreement between the adoptive and biological parents that allows the child to remain in contact with its biological family. Under Ohio law, a court must approve an open adoption agreement, and the agreement can be discontinued at any time.
How an Attorney Can Help
Ohio adoptions have many legal requirements, including paperwork, home visits and possible payment of costs to the biological mother. An attorney who is familiar with Ohio family law can help make sure all procedures are properly followed, all documents are properly filed, can help you find an agency, can facilitate an adoption in lieu of an agency, and can represent you in front of the probate court that will be granting the adoption. Though the adoption process can take some time, an attorney can help you avoid any unnecessary delays or complications and will work to protect your rights in the adoption.
Ohio Adoption FAQs
Here are some of our most frequently asked adoption questions:
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 were 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; and
- 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 eighteenth birthday, in a permanent custody or planned permanent living arrangement with public children’s services or placement agency; or,
- 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:
- 4 Things to Know if You are Preparing to Adopt in Ohio
- Guide to Ohio’s Adoption Laws
- Information about the 5 Types of Adoption Available in Ohio
Contact an Experienced Adoption Lawyer
If you are considering adoption for your family, the family law attorneys at Laubacher & Co. can help you decide which type of adoption is best for you, and help facilitate the process so it goes as seamlessly as possible. Contact our office at 855-701-1004 to schedule a free consultation today.
18 / 100