Five Things to Ask an Adoption Attorney
Choosing to adopt a child is a truly monumental decision for all involved, and in order to ensure it goes successfully, it is important to have an attorney who understands the stakes. The process is very complex, even for legal professionals, and there are certain questions that should be asked so that you can be certain you are working with a knowledgeable attorney.
- #1. What is your background in adoption law? This is perhaps the most important question that can be asked. The adoption process is quite complex for anyone, even those with experience, especially if you wish to adopt internationally. The most recent available data shows over 260,000 adoptions have been brokered internationally since 1999, with the majority being from countries where procedures were either not conducted in English, were prone to adjustment, or both. This can be a severe roadblock for an inexperienced attorney.
- #2. Do you have preferences about adoption types, or is there a type of adoption you will not handle? There are multiple types of adoptions, including private, open, agency-assisted, and many others. Some attorneys refuse to work with adoption agencies, or may refuse to handle adoptions in specific countries. Such preferences are legal as long as this information is communicated up front, but it is not always presented openly.
- #3. What do you charge, on average, to handle an adoption? While there is no specific fee that is appropriate or inappropriate, it is important to have a sense of what will the entire process will cost. A flat fee may be preferable for your situation, but it is possible for an ethical attorney to still charge an hourly rate. As long as your attorney is honest with you about fees, no red flags should be evident.
- #4. Do you require a retainer fee? While there is some debate about the appropriateness of retainer fees, some adoption attorneys in Illinois do charge retainers while others do not. Many feel that paying a retainer is a gamble, especially since in Illinois, the birth mother is granted 72 hours after the birth of a child to decide whether she truly wishes to place that child up for adoption, leaving the adoptive parents with virtually nothing if she elects to keep the baby.
- #5. Will I be kept informed? While this is hopefully a given for any competent attorney, it should still be asked. If your attorney is the only knowledgeable adoption practitioner in the firm, you may go weeks without contact while he or she is busy on other matters. It is important to get a clear picture of your potential attorney’s availability.
Contact a Knowledgeable Adoption Lawyer
Ensuring your adoption attorney is a good fit for you can be critical to the success of your adoption. If you are in need of experienced, compassionate Kane County adoption attorney, contact Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. for help. Call 630-377-7770 today to set up a free initial consultation.