Previously published by The Alabama Lawyer.
Many attorneys love the idea of connecting a loving family with a child in need of a forever home, but are intimidated by the adoption process. This article is designed to help those lawyers.
Overview – Statutory Nature of the Adoption Process
The adoption process is statutory, and it demands strict compliance with Alabama’s Adoption Code, all of which is located in §§ 26-10A-1 to -35.
Pre-Placement Investigation (“Home Study”)
The adoption process begins when you file a petition for adoption. More about the petition is below.
However, when possible, the first step should be a pre-placement investigation (“home study”). While it is ideal to complete this step before filing the petition, sometimes there is simply no time to complete a pre-placement home study, and the court may waive the requirement, or it may order a post-placement home study instead.
The purpose of the pre-placement home study is to determine the suitability of the petitioners’ home (which is the adoptee’s future home), and it includes a criminal background investigation. The statute allows the petitioners to initiate the home study by a direct request through DHR or a licensed child-placing agency, or by filing a request with the probate court. The petitioners should include a copy of the home study report with the petition for adoption. By statute, the home study must be performed by DHR or a licensed individual or agency.
However, the statute does not require a pre-placement home study for adoptions by stepparents or by relatives falling within one of several statutory categories.
Read the whole article onThe Alabama Lawyer.
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