Adoption Lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi
Nothing can change your life quite like having a child and growing your family. While adoption can be exciting, the adoption process can be intimidating, which is why hiring the right adoption lawyer is the best way to navigate the complexities of the adoption process. Ballard Law, PLLC is an adoption law firm in Jackson, Mississippi who works closely with families who are looking to adopt.
Mississippi Adoption Attorney
Ballard Law, PLLC is an adoption law firm, and will work for you as you prepare to grow your family. Whether you are looking to adopt through an agency or seeking private adoption, Andrew will work with you during the process so that you can focus on the excitement of your family’s new addition.
Understanding Mississippi’s Adoption Laws
What Steps are involved in Mississippi’s adoption process?
Mississippi’s adoption laws focus on the best interest of the child and the process is designed to protect the privacy of the child and the natural parents.
1) The adoptive parent(s) or their adoption lawyer must file a petition for adoption in the county’s chancery court where they live or where the child was born, abandoned, or where the child currently lives, including a foster home or institution. Along with the petition must be included a doctor’s certificate stating the physical and mental health of the child, and a sworn statement listing all the child’s property. If the child has a mental or physical health problem, the adoptive parents must include an affidavit stating their awareness of the condition.
2) Written consent must be received from the biological parents, two adult relatives if the parents are deceased, the child’s guardian if the parents are unknown, any person having physical or legal custody of the child (other than a foster parent), the social worker who placed the child in foster care, and the child, if he or she is over 14 years old. The parties must wait at least three days after the child’s birth to sign consent forms.
3) With the proper filing and consent, adoptive parents may receive temporary custody of the child under an interlocutory decree for up to six months before the judge finalizes the adoption. However, the judge can enter the final adoption judgment right away in some cases. The judge may rule against the adoption during the interlocutory period, but the adoptive parents have the right to appeal.
4) Once final, the Bureau of Vital Statistics issues a new birth certificate with the child’s new name and adoptive parents’ names and secures the original birth certificate in a vault. All documents concerning the adoption are confidential and cannot be released without a court order or the consent of the biological parent.
Adopting a child is a legal process. Having a lawyer by your side as you navigate the system can be helpful. Ballard Law, PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi can help your family as you negotiate the legal and practical challenges of navigating the adoption process.
What Requirements Must I Meet to Adopt in Mississippi?
In order to adopt a child who is currently in the care of the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services, adoptive parents must meet certain requirements in addition to filling out all forms. According to the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services, individuals must meet basic requirements in order to adopt. Some of the basic requirements for adoption in Mississippi include:
- You must be a legal Mississippi resident.
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- You must be able to pass a criminal background check.
- You must have no more than four children living in your home.
- You must be able to show that you can financially support a new child living in your home.
If you qualify to adopt, you must submit an application and then may be required to attend training sessions. The training sessions are very valuable because they include important information about child attachment as it pertains to adoptive parents and biological parents. The sessions also offer tools about how to explain adoption to a child and tools to help parents understand the legal and emotional aspects of adoption. After the training, a social worker will visit your home for a home study. During the home study, the social worker can further discuss any concerns or questions you might have about adoption and evaluate your home to see if you are a good fit to adopt a child.
If you are considering adopting, the process can be quite involved. Consider reaching out to Ballard Law, PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi. Our firm can help you submit applications and prepare you for the home study. We can also help you navigate other aspects of the adoption process, like deciding whether to go with an agency or whether to privately adopt. The process can differ depending on which choice you make and your needs. Our firm can help you ask the questions you need to consider to make an informed decision.