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Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption in Maryland
Adoption is one of the most rewarding, fulfilling ways to expand your family, and you no doubt have many questions about the legal requirements when you start to consider your options. Maryland’s adoption statutes provide useful information from a general standpoint, covering the parent-child relationship, the rights and responsibilities of adoptive parents, and other details. However, adoption is a personal experience. You can pore over the statutory language for hours and still not fully understand what to expect when going through the process.
When you retain skilled legal counsel for assistance with the requirements and court proceedings, you can focus on why you are adopting — to establish a familial bond with a child who needs a parent. Your Baltimore County adoption attorney will handle the essential tasks, but some answers to common questions about Maryland adoption should be informative.
What are the different types of adoption in Maryland?
There are three kinds of adoption defined under state law:
- Public agency adoptions through government bodies;
- Adoption through private agencies, including religious organizations; and,
- Independent adoption, which are often arranged through the natural parents and potential adoptive parents.
Who can adopt and be adopted?
Any adult may file a petition for adoption, and there is no requirement that a person be married in order to go through the process. However, if the person seeking to adopt is married, their spouse must also join in the petition. This rule does not apply when the spouse is the natural parent of the child, such as would be the case with a stepparent adoption.
What consents are necessary for adoption?
When the child’s natural parents are alive and parental rights have not been terminated, at least one must consent. Adoption can still go through if a living parent does not agree but cannot be located. In the case of an agency adoption, there usually has already been termination of parental rights. The agency acts as legal guardian and must consent to the adoption. In addition, if the adoptee is 10 years or older, they must agree.
How does the adoption process work in Maryland?
The case begins by filing a petition to adopt the child and providing notice to all relevant parties. Notices depend upon the type of adoption described above and whether parental rights have been terminated. Investigations, home visits, and filing of essential reports take place, and then a hearing is scheduled. At this court appearance, the judge will review the evidence, ensure all requirements are met, and either grant or deny the petition.
Reach Out to a Maryland Adoption Lawyer for Additional Details
These answers to FAQs are useful, but it takes in-depth knowledge and experience with Maryland adoption cases to ensure the proceedings run smoothly. For more information, please contact the Law Office of William F. Mulroney. You can set up a free initial consultation at our Owings Mills Office by calling (443) 352-8433 or visiting our website. After reviewing your circumstances and understanding your objectives, an adoption attorney can advise you on the process.