Archives for May 2018

How to Decide If Adoption Is Right for You

Have you recently started to consider the possibility of adopting a child? If you have, there is a variety of factors that you will want to consider before you start the process, given the fact that it is a lengthy one. If you want to be a part of the nearly 135,000 adoptions that take place in the United States every year, there are some questions that you should first ask yourself.

Public or Private Adoption?

The first thing you should consider when deciding whether or not you want to adopt a child is if you would want to go through a public or private adoption, which can be discussed in detail with a PA adoption lawyer. Adopting through a public agency means that the adoption will take place through a government entity. Government agencies have structured procedures involving the adoption of a child, which our adoption lawyer will be able to guide you through. Each county and jurisdiction has their own department that handles social services and is responsible for children in foster care.

As for private adoption, this form of adoption takes place with a private agency that is licensed and regulated by the particular state that the agency is in. These agencies are usually nonprofit organizations. There are some distinct differences between the two options, but they are designed to use similar processes. If you still have questions about which type is best for you, a New Jersey adoption lawyer may be able to help.

Can You Make the Necessary Investments?

Taking care of a child will require substantial investments that can extend from buying clothes to saving for college. It’s important to ascertain if you will be able to make the necessary investments throughout the child’s life before you go through with an adoption. These investments also extend beyond monetary ones and include the ability to provide the care, love, and understanding that the child will require throughout their life. Our NJ adoption lawyer here at Cofsky & Zeidman will be able to assist you in determining whether or not you have the means of supporting an adopted child.

Have You Been Through a Major Event Recently?

An adoption is always going to be a significant and lengthy event in your life, which is why you might want to start the adoption process during a time that has been free from life-altering events. Have you recently suffered from a major illness, lost your job, or moved to a new location? If so, ask yourself if you are physically and emotionally ready to undertake an adoption so soon after another major event. The decision you make is entirely up to you. You’ll also want to ask yourself if you have time to go through comprehensive counseling before and after the adoption as this is required by any private or public adoption agency. If you believe that now is a good time to adopt, a PA adoption attorney is an invaluable resource to have on your side.

Why Do You Want to Adopt?

Make sure to ask yourself why you want to adopt before beginning as you should be certain that this is something you’re prepared for. Whether you want to adopt because you cannot conceive a child biologically or simply believe that it would be the best option for you, it’s important that you feel strongly about adopting a child. Adoption, unfortunately, is not something that works for everyone. If you really long to be a parent and believe that you would enjoy being around a child and raising them, look into all of your options before starting the adoption process. If you’ve settled on why you want to adopt, an adoption attorney can help you take the next steps.

Once you have made the final decision that you would like to adopt a child and are capable of caring for a child, contact our NJ adoption attorney here at Cofsky & Zeidman LLC to schedule your initial consultation. Our Haddonfield, New Jersey, office can be reached by phone at (856) 429-5005. We also have additional locations in Woodbury, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA, which you can reach by phone at (856) 845-2555 and (215) 563-2150 respectively. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you along your journey toward becoming a parent.

Grandparent Adoption in New Jersey

For thousands of children in New Jersey, their grandparents are their primary caregivers and sources of parental love and attention. Many children first enter the custody of their grandparents after the children were removed from their parents’ homes by the New Jersey DCP&P due to abandonment, abuse, or neglect. In other situations, the grandparents may have taken in the children as an internal response within the family to a crisis, an addiction, or a parent’s inability to provide or care for his or her kids.

Grandparents Providing Family Foster Care

In many cases, grandparents first become responsible for their grandchildren when the kids are placed with them temporarily as a foster placement. The New Jersey DCP&P sees foster care as a situation that leads to reunification with the parents or, alternately, kinship legal guardianship or adoption by the foster parents. Family members like grandparents are strongly preferred as foster parents because they are already known and trusted by the children and have shown themselves to be committed to providing a safe, loving environment for the kids.

In order to be formally designated as foster parents, grandparents must go through a home inspection and background checks in order to be licensed as resource parents by the DCP&P. While foster parents, including family foster parents like grandparents, have the right to make decisions for the children in their care, they’re still subject to ongoing oversight and intervention by the agency.

Kinship Care, Adoption, and Other Options

Once a grandparent’s custody of the children becomes a long-term situation, it can be important for the kids to make the arrangement more formal and lasting. There are several ways to formalize a grandparent’s custody over the grandchildren.

Many grandparents in New Jersey may petition to be appointed kinship legal guardians. In this case, the birth parents of the children retain rights, including the right to visitation, and responsibilities such as paying child support. A grandparent appointed by the court as a kinship legal guardian can be eligible for state subsidies and has the right to make decisions for the child without oversight by state agencies.

Other grandparents may seek to pursue adoption. When a grandparent adopts a child, the birth parents transfer all of their parental rights and responsibilities to the grandparent. Adoption is a more final and permanent solution to an ongoing family situation in which grandparents are a child’s primary caregivers without positive involvement from the birth parents.

Grandparent Adoption and Birth Parents’ Rights

When considering a grandparent adoption, it can be important to consult with our NJ adoption attorney. Under state law, a child can only have two legal parents. While people who are not the legal parents can have rights and responsibilities to the children as foster parents or kinship legal guardians, these rights don’t eliminate or undermine those of the legal parents.

An adoption can only proceed in certain circumstances. Either:

  • The birth parents voluntarily terminate their parental rights, or
  • The birth parents’ rights are legally terminated in court.

Because family reunification and the parent-child bond are a priority, termination of a birth parent’s legal rights is a serious action not taken lightly in court. Parental rights can be terminated if a parent is deemed unfit, especially following abuse or abandonment of a child. There are several factors that can be considered significant enough to lead to termination of parental rights, including sexual abuse of the child, causing serious physical or emotional harm to the child, failing to care for the child, using excessive physical punishment against the child, or abandoning the child.

The grandparents can pursue the full adoption process after the birth parents’ parental rights have been terminated by the court or they’ve voluntarily agreed to give up their rights to the children. Once this has happened, the grandparents will assume the full rights and responsibilities over the child, and the birth parents are no longer expected to provide support or entitled to see the child without the adoptive parents’ permission.

Contact Our New Jersey Adoption Attorney

For grandparents considering adopting the grandchild or grandchildren in their custody, there are many factors to consider when pursuing this permanent option. Our New Jersey adoption attorney can consult and work with grandparents caring for their grandchildren to provide detailed information and representation when moving forward with the adoption process. Grandparents can contact our NJ adoption lawyer, Donald C. Cofsky, in Haddonfield, New Jersey, at 856-429-5005 for advice and guidance on the next steps toward adoption.