At the Law Office of Sarah Elise Rutledge, adoption is one of our most rewarding areas of practice. We love helping families come together and start their futures together. Huntsville, Alabama adoption attorney Sarah Rutledge can help you with all types of adoption, including private adoption, step-parent adoption, adoption by relatives, and foster care adoption. We know how much it means to you and the difference that adoption can make in the life of a child.
Adoptive Parent Requirements in Alabama
To qualify as an adoptive parent or parents you must meet some basic requirements:
- You must be over 19 years old.
- You do not have to be married, but if you are married, you must have been married for at least three years and at least one of you must be a U.S. citizen.
- You must be healthy enough to take care of a child.
- You must have adequate housing and personal space for the child.
- You must be financially able to provide for the child without difficulty.
A single adult cannot be denied adoption based solely on their age or the fact that they work outside of the home.
In non-relative adoptions, there will be an investigation and home study. Prospective adoptive parents are subject to a thorough background check and criminal history.
Step-Parent Adoption in Huntsville Alabama
Step-parent adoption can give your family a sense of security and completeness, and create a deeper bond and sense of belonging for every family member. It is not appropriate in all situations, but when the biological parent is no longer involved in your child’s life, there are many benefits for child and the step-parent.
Adoption gives you the full parental rights and responsibilities of a biological parent. You will have decision-making abilities that a step-parent does not have. If you and your spouse divorce you will have custody and visitation rights as well as child support responsibilities.
Relative Adoption in Alabama
Relatives may seek to adopt a child for a wide range of reasons. The most obvious being when one or both biological parents have passed away. Relative adoption can also create a stable, loving environment for children whose parents have health or lifestyle problems or are otherwise unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable environment.
When the biological parents consent, relative adoption is a fairly simple process with no investigation or home study. The law requires that the child live with the relative seeking to adopt for at least one year before the petition is filed, but that requirement can be waived under certain circumstances.
If a biological parent is not willing to relinquish their parental rights, relative adoption is only possible if you can prove abandonment or that the parent is unfit. There are a number of ways in which a parent may be unfit, and standards are very tough, but it is possible to adopt in situations where parents are unwilling or unable to properly care for their child.
In Alabama, qualifying relatives, by blood or marriage, of the minor child are:
If you are considering adoption in Alabama, please call Huntsville adoption attorney Sarah Rutledge at 251-300-1653 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.