Archives for December 2019

Cooperative Adoption in New Jersey

How a Cooperative Adoption Works in New Jersey

Flexible arrangements are often necessary in the wake of an adoption because the birth family does not completely want to cut off contact with the child. Through a cooperative adoption, there is some leeway to adopt a child and still maintain some sort of relationship with the birth parents. While New Jersey is not one of the 23 states that have statutes allowing written and enforceable contact agreements between parents, cooperative adoption is still an option.

Challenges of Cooperative Adoptions

There are some challenges presented by cooperative adoptions. The new adoptive parents will often want a fresh start with their child and may not wish to have a great deal of contact with the birth parents. At the same time, they won’t necessarily want their adoptive child to know yet that they are adopted. Parents may wish to hold on to the information surrounding the adoption until the child is older. Furthermore, they might feel as if continuing to have the birth family in the child’s life would be ceding some element of control of the parenting.

However, the birth family may not want to completely give up the child to someone else. In some cases, maintaining contact with the child can be a condition for putting the child up for adoption or allowing a family to assume responsibility for their child.

No Enforceable Agreements in New Jersey

Many cases allow for enforceable agreements that govern the relationship between the adoptive family and the birth family. These involve commitments that must be kept. However, New Jersey is not a state that has statutes that address enforceable cooperative adoption agreements. Therefore, any type of agreement that you reach with the birth family would essentially be a handshake-type agreement that you couldn’t get in trouble for violating.

Benefits of Cooperative Adoption

However, just because the law does not specifically provide for a cooperative adoption does not mean that you will completely want to rule it out for your adoption. It can help ease the transition for the child if he or she is older at the time of adoption and knows the birth family. The stability provided by some sort of a cooperative adoption can help facilitate the process and make it easier for the child. In addition, allowing contact with the birth mother may reduce some of the feelings of abandonment that an older adopted child might feel. These are all factors that you need to consider when deciding what role to give the birth family.

With that in mind, you should consider all the potential pros and cons when deciding whether to allow the child to have any contact with the birth family. If you do allow contact, you should think about how much there should be. There are reasons why legal counsel may be in favor of or against these types of adoptions.

Making a Contract

Even though New Jersey law does not deal with cooperative adoption agreements, there is nothing to prevent two private parties from agreeing to some sort of arrangement so long as it meets contract law requirements. If you enter into this type of arrangement as adoptive parents, you will have the ability to amend the agreement as you see fit if you decide that it is not working out as you intend. This agreement can be written or unwritten because the law would treat them both the same. New Jersey adoption attorneys can advise you on how to implement cooperative adoption in the state.

If the birth parents want to maintain contact with the adoptive child, you will need to figure out the parameters of that contact. As the legal parents of the child, you have the ability to make whatever determination is in the best interests of your family. If you do not feel that it is best for the child, you do not have to permit contact between him or her and the birth parents.

Legal Assistance

Turn to Cofsky & Zeidman when you need New Jersey adoption attorneys who can help you with all of your adoption-related legal needs. Call us today in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 to set up your initial consultation. You can reach our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.

The Costs Associated With Adoption

How Much Does Adoption Cost?

About 135,000 children are adopted in the U.S. each year. If you are considering adoption, chances are you are also researching how much the process will cost; the financial expenses associated with adoption vary according to the options you choose, such as a domestic versus an international adoption or a private or a public one. Your New Jersey adoption lawyer can help you better understand the process and choose the options that are best suited for your family.

Private vs. Public Adoption

Private adoptions usually involve a family that adopts a newborn from parents who voluntarily put the child up for adoption. When a family adopts a child from a foster home, the process is referred to as a public adoption. Private adoptions typically require the parents to pay a fee for a home study. The home study fee may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. In many cases, the state or local government will cover the costs of a home study for parents who adopt a waiting child from a foster home. Individuals may also avoid fees by fostering a child, though the foster process may involve an elevated level of risk.

Agency vs. Independent Adoption

Parents who opt for an agency adoption may choose one of two routes: agency adoption or independent adoption. During an agency adoption, an agency works with the parents throughout the entire process. The agency even undertakes the task of finding the right expectant mother for couples who enlist their services. Parents who choose the independent route must advertise and network to find the right expectant mother on their own. On average, people who choose independent adoption can expect to save a few thousand dollars on financial expenses. However, both pathways to adoption typically cost more than $30,000.

Domestic vs. International Adoption

International adoptions tend to cost slightly more than domestic ones. There are also other key differences. For example, parents who wish to adopt an infant should choose to adopt domestically because with international adoptions, six to 12 months will typically pass before the child is placed with the adoptive parents. International adoptions also have a greater potential to involve unknowns relating to the child’s birth and the biological mother. Adoptive parents may also be required to budget for costly international travel when adopting a child from another country.

Additional Expenses Associated With Adoption

There are several types of fees that are typically associated with adoption, especially when parents opt to proceed with the process privately. Expectant parents may be required to pay program and application fees that could range from a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000 if they work with an agency. The cost of adoption also may include fees for hiring an attorney.

It is highly advisable that people work with a New Jersey adoption lawyer as the process typically involves complex family law issues in addition to requiring a substantial financial investment. Factoring in adoption attorney costs is critical as consulting with a professional will help you protect your legal rights and financial investment. Parents who wish to adopt a newborn are often required to cover the birth mother’s expenses as well. Whether working with an adoption agency or proceeding with an independent adoption, the parents must also cover the cost of advertising and networking to find the right birth mother and child.

Get the Legal Protection You Need

The adoption process may be as short as one month or as lengthy as one year or even longer. It only makes sense that you would want to protect yourself throughout such a critical process by hiring an adoption attorney. Your New Jersey adoption lawyer can advise you at every step, especially with determining the best road to adoption for your particular circumstances, including choosing an agency if you decide to go that route. If you are unsure about the adoption process, your first call should be to a trustworthy adoption lawyer. Contact Cofsky & Zeidman at our main Haddonfield office by calling (856) 429-5005, and let us assist you as you begin the journey to make your family whole. You can also reach us at our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.