Fayetteville Adoption Lawyer

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    The decision to adopt a child is commendable and can make all the difference in a child’s life. Adopting a child can provide a loving and stable home where he or she can develop and reach his or her full potential. Adoption requires parents with open and accepting hearts and the desire to raise a child into a responsible adult. Unfortunately, adoption can be extremely complex and complicated. There is a good reason for the complexity because the state of Arkansas wants to ensure that all children end up in a good home. However, this complexity can be frustrating for individuals seeking to adopt and enrich the life of a child.

    The attorneys of Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP are proud to offer legal guidance for adoption to residents of northwest Arkansas. Our law firm is committed to providing high-quality representation for all family law matters. We offer legal guidance and representation to individuals seeking to begin or to continue and expand their role as a loving and supportive parent through adoption. To schedule a confidential legal consultation at GKD Law’s Fayetteville law office call (479) 439-9840 today or contact us online.

    What Is Adoption?

    Adoption is the legal process through which an individual or individuals who are not biologically related to a child can assume parental rights. When the adoption process is complete, the law will consider the child to be the equivalent in all ways to a biological child. While the most common conception of adoption involves the birth mother giving up the child for adoption immediately, adoption can take many other forms and encompass many other situations. Adoption can take place long after the birth of a child due to life events and other situations. The adoption does not necessarily need to involve a completely unrelated couple – adoptions can also be made by a child’s grandparents, aunt, or another relative.

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    What Is the Adoption Process?

    Adoption can be an extremely complicated legal process when it is a contested adoption. A contested adoption occurs when the biological parents oppose the adoption request. However, even an uncontested adoption is rife with complexity. However, the basic steps for an adoption in Arkansas includes:

    1. File a petition for adoption – Filing a petition with the clerk of the court begins the adoption process. The petition must meet certain legal requirements.
    2. Obtain a waiver of consent or show that parental rights are terminated – In order to avoid a contested adoption situation, obtaining one of the preceding certifications or determinations is required. A contested adoption process significantly complicates the scenario.
    3. If the father is not known, obtain a certified statement from the Putative Father Registry – If the father is not known, a statement from the registry must be obtained. Depending on the information contained within, the father may need to be notified.
    4. Study regarding the adopting parent’s suitability – A home study regarding your suitability to be an adoptive parent is required by the state of Arkansas. This study can be waived in certain situations. When required it is typically carried out by a social worker.
    5. Hearing – A court hearing is held to determine whether the adoption requirements are satisfied and whether the adoption would serve the best interests of the child.
    6. Placement – The child is placed in the adoptive home for a minimum of a six-month trial period before the adoption can be made permanent
    7. Adoption decree – After a minimum of six months in the home, the adoptive parents can petition for a final decree of adoption. This decree legally establishes parental rights over the child.

    The above provides an outline of the basics of the adoption process. This process can be navigated with the assistance of a dedicated and meticulous adoption attorney.

    Who Is Eligible to Adopt in Arkansas?

    Arkansas state law places limitations on who may adopt. A married husband and wife are permitted to adopt. The law also permits an unmarried adult who is not living with a person whom he or she is having a sexual relationship to adopt. The law also permits the unmarried father or mother of the individual to be adopted. Finally, in certain situations,  the law also allows a married individual to adopt without their spouse petitioning.

    Fayetteville, Arkansas Adoption Attorneys can Assist with Legal Matter

    The attorneys of Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP are proud to serve the people of northwest Arkansas. One of the most rewarding parts of our legal practice is helping Arkansans start or add to their family through adoption. To schedule a confidential legal consultation at our Fayetteville law office today at (479) 439-9840 today or contact us online.