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How to choose an adoption attorney for direct adoptions

Larry Jenkins
A Kirton McConkie publication

It is very important to select a knowledgeable adoption attorney who has experience with direct placement adoptions. To find qualified attorneys, go to the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and find an attorney near you. If more than one state is involved in your adoption, you may also need to locate an attorney in the state where the child will be born or is living. Most attorneys listed in this directory will be skilled enough to handle a direct placement. But, you will still want to ask some questions:

  • Ask how many adoptions the attorney has handled where the birth parents placed the child directly with adoptive parents. Most states allow such placements. If your state or the state where the child will be born requires an adoption agency to be involved, a qualified attorney will know this and will be able to guide you accordingly.
  • Ask how much of the attorney’s time is devoted to adoptions. An attorney who devotes a significant amount to adoptions is going to be more skilled in assisting you.
  • Ask how much experience the attorney has handling contested adoption cases. An attorney with experience in contested adoption cases can benefit you even if your case isn’t contested because the attorney can spot potential issues in advance and avoid problems before they arise.
  • If your child will be born in another state, ask how many interstate placements the attorney has handled. If the child will be born in or lives in another state, it is crucial your attorney knows how to obtain the necessary interstate approvals from appropriate state officials. You cannot return home without such approvals.
  • If the child is or may be an Indian child, ask what experience the attorney has dealing with the Indian Child Welfare Act. If the child is an Indian child, failure to comply with this important federal law will put your adoption at-risk.
  • Ask what the attorney will charge for services and what other costs to expect? Although it is important to know how much legal services will cost, adoptive parents should not try to cut corners by hiring an attorney based solely on costs. When it comes to the future of your family and the child you hope to adopt, it is important you hire an attorney who can handle your case efficiently, effectively and correctly.


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