When Facing Tough Times… You Need Someone You Can Trust
Adoption can be a beautiful, heartwarming, and joyful experience. It can also be a bit intimidating and scary — you want to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible and that there won’t be any surprises down the road.
The Summerville adoption lawyers at TMW Law understand the concerns that come with adopting a child, and we work hard to make the experience as worry-free and pleasant as possible.
Why Do We Love Handling Adoptions for Our Clients?
To be honest, family law in general is a challenge, because many of our clients come to us for help with divorces, custody battles, and emotional fights over alimony, child support, or marital property. Adoptions, however, are one of the highlights of a family law attorney’s career.
It’s the one time when everyone — the children, the new parents, the judge, the attorneys, and even the courtroom personnel — is going to walk out of the courtroom with a good feeling and a smile. The world, and a child’s life, are just a little bit better than they were, and we were a part of making that happen.
Whether you are adopting a stepchild, adopting a grandchild, adopting a foster care child, or adopting a child through an adoption agency, we will be there with you every step of the way, answering your questions and giving you the peace of mind of knowing that your adoption will be handled competently and professionally.
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Cases We Handle
We have the experience you need to help you navigate the confusing and sometimes complex adoption process.
Clients turn to us when they want determined representation by attorneys with the highest ethical standards and who know the family courts, procedures, and adoption laws in SC.
Cases we handle include:
- Stepparent adoptions
- Grandparent adoptions
- Relative adoptions
- Foster care adoptions
- Adoption agencies
- Direct-placement adoptions
Here’s what we’ll do:
- Meet with you to learn about your situation, find out what your goals are, and answer your questions
- Help you to obtain a home study for adoption, when needed (although relative adoptions may not require a home study, direct-placement and other types of adoption might)
- Obtain consent from the biological parent, when required, or serve the necessary paperwork, gather evidence, and begin court proceedings to terminate the biological parents’ parental rights, when appropriate
- Communicate with your adoption agency on your behalf
- File all paperwork and serve all required notices in your adoption proceedings
- Follow through with your adoption proceedings until they are finalized by the family court
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Home Study Required for an Adoption in SC?
Home studies are required for some types of adoptions, including foster care adoptions and adoptions through adoption agencies, but they are not required when a relative like a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or stepparent adopts a child.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Adopt a Child?
It is recommended that you use an attorney for your adoption proceedings.
Although adoption proceedings often go smoothly, there are many potential issues that could arise if you are not familiar with SC adoption laws, including:
- Proper notice to and service on all interested parties
- Consent from the biological parents or proceedings to terminate their parental rights
- Birth parents who change their minds
- Whether you should participate in an open or closed adoption
- SC’s policy of reunification with the biological parents when a child is in foster care
- Whether a home study is required for your type of adoption proceedings
Can I Adopt a Child if I’m Not Married or if I’m Married to Someone of the Same Sex?
You can adopt a child if you are single — being married is not a requirement. Like married couples, you will need an adoption plan ,and you may need to pass a home study before your adoption is approved.
Same-sex couples can also adopt a child. LGBTQ rights have come a long way in recent decades, although the struggle is ongoing, and some religious-based adoption agencies may still refuse to serve gay couples. The attorneys at TMW Law will help you to adopt your child, and we can help you to find an LGBTQ-friendly adoption agency when needed.
As a Grandparent, How Do I Adopt My Child’s Children?
Your Summerville adoption attorney at TMW Law understands that there are many reasons grandparents adopt their grandchildren. We can help you through the process.
Although a home study may not be required for a relative adoption in SC, the biological parents’ parental rights must be terminated, which can be done by consent or through termination of parental rights proceedings in the family court.
What Is the Difference Between Open & Closed Adoptions?
In a closed adoption, the adoptive parents are not told the identities of the birth parents. The child may never know who their birth parents were, and the adoption proceedings are sealed by the court. Closed adoptions are less common than they once were, although international adoptions are often closed.
Open adoptions are more common, especially in domestic adoptions. In an open adoption, the adoptive parents (and the child) know the identity of the birth parents, and the birth parents may or may not remain involved in the child’s life to varying degrees.
The extent of “openness” of the adoption depends on what the adoptive parents and the birth parents want. An adoption could be 100% closed, 100% open, or somewhere in between. For example, although an adoption is closed, the adoptive parents may have access to health records or other information about the birth parents.
What Type of Adoption Cases Do You Handle?
There are many different types of adoptions, including:
- Stepparent adoptions: Stepparents will often adopt their stepchild or stepchildren after marriage when the biological parent is not in the child’s life or is unfit as a parent.
- Grandparent adoptions: When a parent is unfit, deceased, or unavailable, the grandparents will often take custody of a child, or the family court will place the child with the grandparents or another relative. Often, grandparents will choose to adopt a grandchild when they want more stability for the child.
- Relative adoptions: Other relatives like an aunt or uncle may also decide to adopt a child when they have custody. Relative adoptions allow the child to inherit from the adopted parent and provide added stability for the child.
- Foster care adoptions: Foster parents will sometimes decide to adopt a foster child. Foster care adoptions can sometimes be a frustrating process, and the biological parents may challenge the adoption, but a foster care adoption is often a happy ending for a child who desperately needs a loving and stable family.
- Through adoption agencies: There are several different types of adoption agencies in SC that can help connect prospective parents with a child who needs a home, including private adoption agencies and international adoption agencies.
- Direct-placement adoptions: In many cases, a birth mother and adoptive parents will find each other without the help of adoption agencies or government agencies. Direct-placement adoptions can be finalized with the help of lawyers, although the birth mother and adoptive parents may need separate attorneys due to the potential for ethical conflicts.
He's very efficient and definitely an excellent choice! Great communication, great work, and great results!Ongela
He always had my best interest at heart and definitely took the worry and concerns off my shoulders.Missy G.
Mr. Templeton was extremely professional and guided me through each step of the process in a timely manner.Dylan B.
I picked the right law firm for advice. They communicated the steps that would take place.Anonymous
This firm went above and beyond to help me. I highly recommend this firm if you have a family law case.Keith P.
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