A Legal Services Plan Helps Parents Looking to Adopt a Child

Affordable attorney services & professional guidance make the adoption process smoother.

While adopting a child is a joyous time for parents, the adoption process can be long, confusing and difficult to navigate. Because of the legal issues and volume of paperwork involved, parents looking to adopt can benefit from working with a lawyer who is familiar with adoption laws and is well versed in adoption procedures.

Working with a lawyer can be expensive. A legal services plan offered through group benefits packages covers a number of adoption-related matters. For a small monthly fee, employees receive unlimited access to a nationwide network of attorneys—so parents considering adopting can seek the legal services they need, without worrying about extensive fees.

Group benefits offering a legal services plan allow parents to seek professional legal services when adopting a child.

Different ways to adopt a child.

There are several types of domestic adoptions and while each has specific requirements, all of them must be finalized in court, so it is advisable to consult an attorney.1

  • Agency: Prospective parents can choose to work with either a public or private licensed agency. Public agencies primarily deal with the adoption of children in the State foster care system. In a private licensed agency adoption, birth parents relinquish their parental rights to the agency and then adoptive parents work with the agency to adopt a child.2  In both situations, there are fees and paperwork involved, so it’s a good idea to have a lawyer present who can make sure all required documents are handled and finances are properly arranged. (Please note, a legal plan does not cover agency fees.)
  • Private/Independent: A private, independent, or direct-placement domestic adoption is an adoption arranged between a birth family and an adoptive family without the use of a public agency.3  Each state’s laws on independent adoptions vary, but a lawyer can ensure all requirements are met.
  • Stepchildren: Stepparents work with birth parents and the State court system to transfer parental rights of the children. Having a lawyer on your side during this process can prove to be invaluable, as many specific legal requirements must be met according to your State laws. Adoption lawyers will know the relevant laws and will be able to evaluate your particular situation and provide guidance throughout the process.4

With a legal services plan, prospective parents can consult a professional attorney for whatever type of adoption they are considering, without worrying about having to navigate the process alone.

MetLaw, our premier legal plan covering the most common legal matters, covers all legal services and court work in state or federal court for an adoption for the plan member and spouse. Legitimization of a child for the plan member and spouse, including reformation of a birth certificate, is also covered.

This article is intended to provide you with general information. This article is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice. If you require legal advice, please consult with your own attorney.

1 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Child Welfare Information Gateway, Adoption: Where Do I Start? (2010).
2 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Child Welfare Information Gateway, Adoption Options (July 2010).
3 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Child Welfare Information Gateway, Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses (May 2013).
4 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Child Welfare Information Gateway, Stepparent Adoption (May 2013).

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