What are the Legal Barriers to Adoption in New Jersey?
Adoption is an important foundation of our society. Parents have been adopting children since the dawn of time, and this practice allows children to experience normal families despite the fact that they lack biological parents of their own. With all that said, the state of New Jersey takes the adoption process seriously. There are very specific rules and regulations that you must follow if you want to adopt a child in the Garden State.
Because the adoption process may involve a lengthy legal process, it is important to connect with a qualified lawyer who understands the intricacies of family law. Without an experienced legal expert by your side, jumping through the bureaucratic hoops of the adoption process can be stressful and unproductive.
Types of Adoption
There are a few different types of adoption that are recognized under New Jersey state law:
- Independent Adoption: This is a direct arrangement between the biological parents and the adoptive parents. No third party is involved, except for perhaps a clergy member or a doctor. Regulations surrounding independent adoptions are usually quite strict, and an adoption compliant investigation is conducted after placement of the child.
- Agency Adoption: Private or public agencies may place children with adoptive parents. These agencies are professionally licensed and often deal with orphans, and they follow their own process when placing children with adoptive parents.
- Identified Adoption: Although an agency is also involved in this type of adoption, the adoptive and biological parent(s) have communicated previously and agreed upon a potential adoption. An agency then steps in and finishes the process.
- Foreign Adoption: As the name suggests, a foreign adoption involves a child from a foreign nation. Unlike other forms of adoption, adoptive parents must comply with the Immigration and Naturalization Act as part of the process.
- Stepparent Adoption: Stepparents can also adopt their stepchildren who may be biologically unrelated to them. This process can be tricky in some circumstances.
- Relative Adoption: If you are related to the child by blood, then you can adopt them through what is known as a “relative adoption.”
Potential Issues With Adoption
While many adoptions happen smoothly and without issue, you should be aware of some potential issues that can arise. Here are some of the most common legal barriers you may face:
- Discrimination: Some agencies may attempt to deny your right to adopt a child based on your identity. For example, you may be rejected because of your sexual identity, your race, your religion, etc. This is contradictory to New Jersey law, and you can pursue legal action against the agency if you feel like you’re being discriminated against.
- Criminal Record: You may encounter difficulties in your attempt to adopt a child if you have a criminal record. Many offenses, such as rape, crimes against children, murder, kidnapping, and aggravated assault will make you ineligible for adoption. That being said, simply having a criminal record does not necessarily make it impossible to adopt a child, and your unique situation will be considered.
- Stepparent Adoptions: There are potentially problematic legal barriers associated with a stepparent adoption. If one of the biological parents cannot be contacted or objects to your adoption request, you will have to go through a court process. Hiring an experienced attorney is critical in this situation.
Getting Legal Help
If you want to adopt a child, the assistance of a qualified attorney can make a massive difference. Reach out to Giro, LLP, Adoptions Attorneys today, and we will help you add a new member to your family.