Pennsylvania State Laws Related to Adoption
There are federal laws that establish standard with which state adoption laws must comply. If you are considering an international adoption, you will have certain international laws that govern the process. But every state has its own adoption laws and Pennsylvania is no exception. Here are some of the more important laws.
Who Can Adopt or Be Adopted?
In Pennsylvania, anyone can adopt—you must, however, have an approved family profile, or home study. The home study is prepared by an adoption agency and customarily includes a visit to your home, a background check (to confirm employment, character and criminal history), and interviews with family members. The home study is also used to match you with a child.
There are no restrictions, either, on who may be adopted, except that consent must be obtained in the following circumstances:
- If the adoptee is under the age of 18, the adopting parents must obtain the permission of the adoptee’s parents
- The husband of the birth mother, if he was married to the birth mother within one year before the birth of the child
- The adoptee, if he or she is over the age of 12
- The guardian of the adoptee, if parental rights have been terminated or there are no parents whose consent is required
- The spouse of the adopting parent, unless both parents are parties to the adoption
A person over the age of 18 may be legally adopted. If so the court has the discretion to determine whether any special consent is required.
Confidentiality of Adoption Proceedings
As a general rule, all adoption recordings and any documents related to the adoption are sealed and may not be reviewed except upon court order. If the adoptee is at least 18 years of age, he or she may request information about birth parents, provided the information does not reveal the identity of birth parents. If the child is not 18, his or her parents may ask the court for information that does not disclose the identity of birth parents. However, the birth parents still have absolute discretion to disclose or not disclose information.
Adoption Attorneys in New Jersey
At the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, our lawyers bring more than 25 years of experience to every matter we handle. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings since joining the bar in 1974. Attorney Bruce D. Zeidman has protected the interests of clients in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1984. We understand the challenges you face, and can help you identify all your options so that you can make good decisions that are in your best long-term interests.
Contact our office online or call us at (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield, NJ, at (856) 429-5005 in Woodbury, NJ, or in Philadelphia, PA, at (856) 429-5005. We also provide a free initial consultation in personal injury and workers’ compensation matters.