Many families have a genuine desire to provide a family for a child. Whether you’re a pregnant woman considering placement of your child for adoption or a prospective adoptive family, an experienced adoption attorney is critical to assist with the process. Neale & Newman's adoption attorneys are eager to support you on your adoption journey to help ensure a smooth process and avoid setbacks.
1. State Law
Adoptions are governed by state statute in Missouri. However, depending on the city or county in which you are adopting, the procedural steps may differ. Thus, it is critical to hire an attorney who knows these steps in the city or county you wish to file your Petition for Adoption.
2. Proper Documentation
Adoptions may occur in a variety of ways, but there are certain steps that must be taken in Missouri. Adoption in Missouri is a two-part process beginning with the adoptive parents receiving legal custody of the minor child through a relinquishment or termination of parental rights. An attorney is vital to assist in initiating this process and ensure the documentation has been properly drafted. Additionally, no transfer of actual custody can take place without prior court approval. Adoptive parents must complete a home study before the child may be placed in their home. Finally, the adoptive parents must have lawful and actual custody of the child for at least six months before an adoption is finalized.
3. Each Adoption Is Unique
Missouri provides prospective parents several avenues for adoption. Potential parents can choose a private adoption or choose to work with an agency. They can pursue a domestic or international adoption. Also, Missouri statutes address when a stepparent, relative or foster parents are permitted to adopt a child. Each adoption comes with a unique set of requirements and an adoption attorney is critical to navigate those issues.
4. Interstate Adoptions
Engaging an attorney is especially important for interstate adoptions, as the law governing interstate adoptions is complex and evolving. Missouri families seeking to adopt a child from out of state must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (“ICPC”). ICPC requirements are extensive and time-sensitive. An adoption attorney familiar with the articles of the ICPC will provide peace of mind throughout this process.
5. International Adoptions
Missouri families wishing to pursue an international adoption will need an attorney who understands the procedures of the Immigration and Naturalization Services as well as the steps required to obtain recognition of the foreign adoption in Missouri. Neale & Newman’s adoption attorneys have experience in handling international adoptions from countries all over the world.
Neale & Newman’s Trusted Adoption Attorney
Melissa Bade is our trusted adoption attorney at Neale & Newman. She brings nearly a decade of experience to our firm as a partner and advocate for children. Contact Neale & Newman or call (417) 882-9090 for more information.