Annapolis Adoption Lawyers
Supporting expanding families throughout Maryland
Watching your family grow is always exciting. Expanding your family through adoption can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You open your heart and your home to embrace a child and offer him or her the loving support of a safe and nurturing home. No matter what led to your decision to adopt, you are going to require compassionate legal support.
At the Annapolis-based law firm of Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC, our adoption attorneys put their collective 30 years of legal experience to work on behalf of clients throughout Maryland who hope to expand their families. We offer personalized service to meet your family’s individualized needs, and provide the support and guidance you need as you move through the adoption process.
What are the legal requirements for adopting a child in Maryland?
Adoption is the legal process of forming a new parent-child relationship. In Maryland, any adult (aged 21 or older) can adopt a child, whether he or she is married or single. If the petitioner (the person seeking to adopt) is married, his or her spouse is required to be joined on the petition, though certain exceptions may apply. The state does require that the applicant be a U.S. citizen, or a legal immigrant who has applied for legal residence. In cases where couples are adopting, both parents must be lawfully present.
The birth parent or the legal guardian of the child to be adopted must consent to the adoption, and the parental rights of the birth parents must be terminated before the adoption can be finalized. If one of the birth parents is missing, a notice of the adoption must be published in the newspaper. If the child to be adopted is 10 years or older, he or she must consent to the adoption.
What are the different types of adoption our attorneys can assist you with?
Our attorneys can assist you with the following types of adoptions:
- Step-parent adoption. Stepchild adoption is the most common form of adoption. It often occurs when one birth parent remarries after a divorce or gets married after ending a relationship with the child’s other parent. The biological parent’s new spouse chooses to take full legal and financial responsibility for the child. In a same sex marriage, the non-biological parent may legally adopt the child born to their union. One of the challenges with stepchild adoption is getting the other birth parent’s consent as this means they must give up their parental rights.
- Relative or kinship adoption. Kinship adoption involves transferring legal custody from the birth parent to a relative, but it might also temporarily transfer custody to the Department of Human Services until the child is properly placed with the new family.
- Same sex couples and adoption. The Annapolis adoption lawyers at Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC understand that some families face unique challenges because of who they are. Same sex adoption has been legal throughout the U.S. since 2016, and Maryland law prohibits adoption agencies from discriminating against a couple or an individual adoptive parent because of sexual orientation. However, just because laws change does not mean that people’s narrow thinking automatically changes along with it. While the firm understands that a person’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with his or her fitness to be a parent, LGBTQ adoptive parents may still face some resistance. As proud supporters of the LGBTQ community, the firm’s attorneys are committed to being advocates for their clients’ rights.
What can an Annapolis adoption lawyer do for our family?
Adoption can be facilitated through the services of an experienced adoption attorney, who will guide and support the adoptive parents through the process.
And though adoption is joyous, positive event, it can also be complex. Part of that complexity involves making sure that everything related to the adoption is in the best interest of the child. It also involves:
- Ensuring all the paperwork is filled out correctly, and within any required time lines
- Representing you during adoption hearings
- Explaining the laws and regulations of adoption to you, so that you know how they apply
If you are ready to start the adoption process, we are here to be your guide. At Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC, we want to help your family grow.
Types of Cases We Handle
Our attorneys handle a variety of cases, including:
|Child Custody||Child Support|
|Complex Property Division||Alimony|
A premier family law firm serving clients throughout Maryland
Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC provides personalized, comprehensive family law and adoption services for Maryland families. To speak with an experienced family law attorney about your needs, please call 410-921-2422, or fill out our contact form and reserve your consultation time. From our home office in Annapolis, we serve clients throughout the state.