Congratulations – you’re about to expand your family! The decision to adopt a child is an important one, so you want to make sure you have the best attorney for your needs, to help you through the process. We have compiled these five tips for choosing the right adoption lawyer, so you know where to start and what to look for in order to grow your family.
1. Do your research
Lawyers must be licensed in their state, so check to make sure that the attorneys on your short list are licensed and in good standing with the state bar association. Beyond just being licensed, you want to find out how they have helped other families grow through adoption. What are their clients saying about them? Do they have testimonials on their website? What does their profile on attorney ratings sites such as Avvo and Lawyers.com say? Can you get referrals from friends? Ask the people you know who have worked with adoption lawyers for recommendations.
2. Ask about the attorney’s adoption experience
Now that you’ve narrowed down your list in search of the right adoption lawyer, schedule some appointment to ask each one about their experience helping families with adoption. Ask if the attorney you choose to work with will be assigned to your case, or if you will be working with a paralegal or other support staff person. Find out how quickly they get back to you, and what kinds of communication they use the most often: email, phone calls, text messages, etc.
3. Ask about the total cost of adoption
You will need to get an idea about how the costs of adoption will be broken down. How much will you be paying in attorney fees? Do they have a retainer? Do they charge by the hour? Can they give you an estimated, itemized budget before you launch into the adoption process? Understand that sometimes, costs will be incurred that weren’t in the original budget, because, as they say, “things happen.” Make sure to ask about potential complications, especially if you are adopting from out-of-state or out-of-the-country.
4. Make a list of questions to ask your lawyer
Adoption is such a personal process, but at the same time, we all want the same answers at the outset. What are our options? How long is the wait? What will the process look like? How much will an adoption cost? Sit down with your spouse or partner and come up with the questions that will help you to identify the adoption lawyer who will work best for you and your family.
5. Trust your instincts
Most of us, if we keep our eyes and ears open, can tell when something does not seem right. You want to work with an adoption lawyer who makes you feel welcome, who puts you at ease, and who seems knowledgeable about the adoption process. You have already vetted several candidates, checked into their background and experience. Now it is time to see who you feel comfortable working with, and whose fee schedule seems appropriate for what you can spend.
Adoption is joyful process for adding to the love in your family, but it can be a bit overwhelming, too. Shepherd and Associates, P.C. is here for you when you need us. Our talented team of Maryville adoption attorneys want to help you grow your family as efficiently and safely as possible. You can find out about what we do for our clients by calling 865.225.9655, or filling out our contact form.