Pittsburgh Adoption Lawyer
Serving Allegheny County & Surrounding Areas
Adopting a child is a major life decision that deserves the help of an experienced attorney. At Notaro Epstein Family Law Group, P.C., our Pittsburgh adoption attorneys have dedicated their careers to providing family law services. For us, helping families isn’t just a subset of our career—it’s the focus of our lives.
Who Can Adopt?
Any person can adopt. If a married couple is seeking to adopt, both spouses must join in the adoption or the spouse who has not joined in the petition for adoption must give his or her consent.
Who Can Be Adopted?
Just as any person can adopt, any person can be adopted as well. There is no age requirement in Pennsylvania, which means that an adult is free to adopt another adult. If a child is being adopted, they must give consent if they are 12 years of age or older.
Adoption of a Minor
Once parents have adopted a child, they have the same rights and responsibilities as they would if they were the biological parents. Any time a minor is put up for adoption, Pennsylvania requires both birth parents’ consent. In consenting to the adoption, both parents acknowledge that they are relinquishing their rights to the child.
The birth mother must wait at least 72 hours after the birth of the child to give her consent, while the father can consent at any time. Parties consenting to adoption from outside of Pennsylvania must do so in a way that satisfies the legal requirements of their state.
The consent of the birth mother is always necessary. If the birth mother is married but can show the court that her husband is not the natural father, then the husband’s consent is unnecessary. However, if the birth mother cannot offer this proof, her husband is required to consent to the adoption if he was married to the birth mother at least one year before the child was born. Additionally, both birth parents have a right to revoke their consent. The father has 30 days after the birth of the child or the execution of the consent to revoke his consent. In contrast, the birth mother has 30 days after she executed the consent to revoke.
The state will become involved if a couple is unable to care for their child. In these cases, a juvenile court may initiate dependency proceedings, which will attempt to find solutions for the child. During a dependency proceeding, the child is removed from the parents’ home and placed with other family members or in foster care. In many cases, juvenile court serves as a wakeup call to parents. If certain conditions are met, they may get back their child. Courts try to give permanency to parents but will always seek to act in the best interest of the child.
If birth parents never planned on putting their child up for adoption, and instead are being asked to do so by the state, it may be hard to get their consent. If parents decline to terminate their parental rights voluntarily, the juvenile court will hold a termination of parental rights hearing (TPR). Parental rights can be involuntarily terminated in a TPR hearing when there is clear and convincing evidence that a child has been neglected by his or her parents.
If juvenile proceedings reach the point of a TPR hearing, it is likely that prospective adoptive parents have already stepped forward to adopt the child. After an adoption hearing, a judge will decide whether or not to issue an adoption decree. These cases are often complicated because the court is seeking to protect the best interests of the child. If a TPR hearing has occurred, it is likely that the child has experienced a rough life. Courts make a big deal out of these hearings because they are trying to ensure that the child is being treated properly.
Get Help With Your Pittsburgh Adoption by Calling (412) 281-1988
If you are embarking on the journey of adoption, you must obtain the help of a qualified adoption lawyer. Doing so will ensure that all the right steps are being taken to secure the final adoption papers. If an adoption is not properly handled, it can change the life of the child who needs it to happen.
For over 20 years, the attorneys at Notaro Epstein Family Law Group, P.C. have helped countless families get the results they deserve in court. We have focused our careers on family law so that we can provide the best possible service for families that need our help the most. We handle every aspect of adoption and are ready to help you make your dreams a reality today.
Contact Notaro Epstein Family Law Group, P.C. today at (412) 281-1988 for your Pittsburgh adoption proceeding needs!
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