Licensed by the Kansas Supreme Court
With over 30 years of experience, we have a deep appreciation for all facets of adoption.
In most cases a child may be placed with and adopted by a family who resides in another state; however, the placement is subject to a law called the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. This law is designed to prevent trafficking of children across state lines for wrong purposes. Both the ‘sending state’ and the ‘receiving state’ must insure compliance with their respective state laws. Ignoring or violating the Compact may result in penalties or, in some cases, invalidation of the adoption.
While each state has its own requirements, the basic requirements are that the once the ‘sending state’ confirms its requirements have been met, the ‘receiving state’ (where the adoptive family lives) must approve a current home assessment and verify other documents before the child may enter that state. Therefore, if a potential adoptive family believes an interstate placement is possible, it is wise to get legal advice as soon as possible and to keep the home assessment updated.
The Kansas Interstate Compact Office in Topeka has traditionally been very responsive and cooperative. On the other hand, offices of some other states have requirements in addition to those of Kansas or have sometimes been less responsive than the Kansas office; therefore, it is important that the attorney determine what the other state will require early on in the process and follow those procedures carefully.
Generally, you may finalize in either the ‘sending state’ or the ‘receiving state’. This decision requires a comparison of the laws of both states. However, some states will require you to finalize in that state and a few may not allow a non-resident to finalize in that state.
Our office has extensive experience in interstate adoptions and getting through the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.
Contests to adoption are possible in a small percentage of adoptions. The more common contest comes from fathers who do not agree with the mother’s adoption plan. Every situation is different and a birthfather may or may not be in a position to stop an adoption. The law gives a birthfather certain rights in his biological child until removed by the court and, therefore, an uninvolved or even a lost or unknown birthfather cannot be ignored.
Timing is very important when dealing with parental rights. It is very important that this issue be investigated to determine if an adoption is feasible as early as possible in the process. Our approach is to deal with this matter as soon as possible once we are aware an adoption is possible.
Our office has extensive experience in dealing with objecting or contesting fathers.
Either parent may try to withdraw a consent after the adoption process has started; however, these contests are even less common than a contest by a non-consenting birthfather. In addition, there are no known cases in Kansas in which a birthparent has been able to set aside a consent.
Our approach is to do all we can to make sure that a birth parent is fully informed of the legal and practical consequences of their consent. We also want to make sure the birthparent is not pressured to place a child for adoption. We strive to ensure that there will no question that the consent was voluntary.
A child of a parent who has remarried may be adopted by the step parent under certain circumstances. This will depend either on the agreement of the other biological parent or upon the actions or inaction of that parent.
The laws for step parent adoptions are different than for other adoptions. It is very important to get competent legal advice before starting a step parent adoption. Our office has finalized many voluntary as well as contested step parent adoptions.
There are situations in which an adoption is not desired or needed. This may arise because a family needs authority to care for a child only temporarily with the intention of return to the natural parents or because the parties do not wish to sever the parent/ child relationship through adoption. The guardianship process is different from the adoption process.
When the minor child has financial or other assets, a conservatorship may be needed to manage those funds or property for the minor.
Sometimes a step parent or other person has served as a child’s actual parent until adulthood. These people will often desire to make the relationship legal through an adult adoption. The process is very simple and inexpensive in most cases.
There are three situations in which parents of a foreign-born child may require a legal process. If the adoptions was not finalized in the country of birth and the adoptive parents simply granted custody or a guardianship for the child, a full adoption is required in Kansas. If an adoption was granted in the foreign country, there are two possibilities depending on how that process took place and the status granted on the child’s Visa. In some cases, a full adoption is recommended in order to receive an English birth certificate from the State of Kansas. In other cases, there is a simple process to obtain a Kansas birth certificate without going to court. Care should be taken to obtain a U.S. Certificate of Citizenship before changing the name of the child.
In addition to our practice in adoption law, our office also offers to assist with Wills, trusts, powers of attorney and the probate of estates when a loved one passes away. Please feel free to contact the office to ask questions about any of the above.