The Law Office of Maryann E. Foley assists clients with adoptions in Anchorage and throughout Alaska. We have extensive experience handling family adoptions, always working to facilitate and expedite the process whenever possible. In addition, we help clients prepare for this milestone in their lives by handling all legal aspects of the adoption process, allowing prospective parents to embrace the excitement of welcoming a new addition to their family.
We often handle adoptions involving family members, including stepparent adoptions and grandparent adoptions. Deciding to take on the legal, financial, and emotional responsibility of parenting a child takes dedication, security, and compassion. We recognize and appreciate the gift that a family member gives when he or she adopts a child and assumes the parental role, with all of its legal and personal obligations associated with being a parent.
Adopting a stepchild is the most common form of adoption. A stepparent who adopts his or her spouse’s child agrees to be fully responsible for the child, and after the stepparent adoption occurs, the noncustodial parent no longer has any rights or responsibilities for the child, including child support. If you want to adopt your stepchild, you generally must obtain the consent of both your spouse and the child’s other parent. If the other parent maintains regular contact with the child and pays child support, you will not be able to complete a stepparent adoption in Alaska unless the other parent is willing to sign a consent to adoption. Once consent is secured, we will file a petition for adoption on behalf of our client with the county’s Superior Court.
In some situations, a child’s biological parent may refuse to cooperate with an adoption or cannot be located. If this is the case, we may seek termination of the absent parent’s rights when it is in the best interests of the child. In Alaska, the consent from the absent parent is not required under the following circumstances:
- The absent parent has abandoned the child for at least 6 months
- The absent parent has failed to communicate with the child or provide for the care and support of the child for a period of at least 1 year
- Consent to adoption is not required from any natural father who was not married to the mother at the time the minor was conceived, or at any time after conception, and has never legitimated the minor child under the laws of the state
- The absent parent received notice of the adoption proceedings and failed to answer or otherwise respond to the petition within 60 days, and the court finds that the consent by the absent parent is being withheld unreasonably
Depending on your unique situation, a stepparent adoption may be straightforward or pose many obstacles. No matter the level of conflict involved, if any, it is important to ensure your rights and interests, as well as the interests of the child, are protected throughout the adoption process.
We also help grandparents legally adopt grandchildren whose parents have died or whose parents are unable to care for them. In the second scenario, the adopting grandparents must provide proof that the parent or parents are unfit to care for the child, for while the grandparent-grandchild relationship may be strong, that in itself is not enough to override the custodial rights of living parents. Our office has successfully petitioned for adoption on behalf of grandparents, giving us the experience and expertise to handle these potentially difficult cases.
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We believe that adoption is an undertaking well worth the effort; however, the completion of a successful adoption often involves a great deal of stress, many anxious moments, and a significant financial investment. We strive to make the adoption process as smooth as possible for our clients, by providing supportive counsel every step of the way. Please contact the Law Office of Maryann E. Foley for more information about our adoption services.