The adoption process can be very rewarding and exciting. It can be accomplished easily so long as the necessary procedures are followed closely and accurately. Our Merrillville adoption lawyers provide answers to some of the most common questions we receive below:
Will the natural parents of my adopted child have rights to see the child after the adoption is complete?
Indiana law is very clear that once an adoption is finalized, the rights and obligations of the biological parents are forever terminated. Indiana adoption law recognizes the adoptive parent as stepping into the shoes of the child’s biological parents for all intents and purposes, including parenting rights and obligations, and inheritance laws. There are procedures that allow for natural parents to see the child after the adoption is completed, but the adoptive parents must specifically agree to this in order for natural parents to participate in post-adoption visitation.
What procedures are required to finalize an adoption?
In general, adoptive parents must file a petition for adoption, obtain consents from the biological parents, (if known or if necessary), perform a Putative Father Registry search, participate in a successful home study, and provide adequate notice to all potential parents of the child. The procedures also include completion and filing of other documents, and all statutory requirements must be adhered to for the adoption to be valid. Procedures can vary from case to case depending on the circumstances surrounding the adoption.
What if I don’t know the identity of the biological father?
In general, men who have fathered a child out of wedlock are called “putative fathers” and must file a paternity action in a court of law to enforce his legal rights as a parent of the child. If a man believes he is the father of a child and desires to receive notice of a pending adoption of that child, he must register with the Indiana Putative Father Registry to ensure that he receives notice of the adoption. An adoptive parent must perform a Putative Father Registry search to identify persons who must receive notice of an adoption. This search will also uncover paternity actions on file that are related to the child, if any. If a putative father is identified, notice of the adoption must be provided to him. If no putative father is identified, adoptive parents still must provide notice of the adoption to potentially interested parties by publication in a local newspaper. To ensure timely notice of the adoption, a putative father must have filed a paternity action or registered with the Putative Father Registry according to specific time frames established by the Indiana Adoption Statute.
What if one of the parents does not consent?
Lack of consent from a biological parent can be an insurmountable hurdle in an adoption. However, there are some situations wherein a parent’s consent is not necessary, such as if parental rights have been terminated, the parent has committed certain crimes, or the parent has not communicated with or supported the child for several months prior to the filing date of an adoption petition.
I would be happy to evaluate your case. Simply schedule an appointment with me, Attorney Julie R. Glade, by calling (219) 736-0456 or by filling out the Contact Us form on this website. I serve clients throughout Lake County and Porter County in Northwest Indiana. My law office is located in Merrillville.