If you are thinking of expanding your family through adoption, there are many things to consider. Not only is it important that your family is a good fit for the child, it is also important that you understand the legal process in Washington. When it comes to matters of family law, state regulations can often be complex and difficult to navigate. A local Washington attorney will be your greatest resource while you go through the adoption process.
Read further for an overview of the adoption laws in Washington.
Adopting in Washington
The state has total control of the adoption process, including determining who can adopt a child and if the child is actually eligible for adoption. In general, anyone can be adopted, however, children that are 14 years of age or older have to give their consent to the adoption. Unlike other states, Washington does not require that you pass a period of home residency with the child before you can complete the process.
Qualifications to adopt
In order to adopt a child, both you and your spouse must meet certain state requirements. First, both of you must be at least 18 years old. The two of you must also be legally competent according to state standards. Finally, you have to complete an approved family assessment.
Eligibility of adoptee
As per state law, any person can be adopted regardless of age or where one resides. This means that you and your spouse can adopt an infant from Kentucky or a teenager from Maine if you choose.
Consent for adoption
The state of Washington requires that certain people give their consent for the adoption process to start and to be finalized. As mentioned above, if the child you wish to adopt is 14 years of age or more, he or she must consent to the adoption. In addition, the biological mother and alleged father must also agree to the adoption. The state also requires that the legal guardian and the agency or department that is overseeing the child's welfare must give consent.
In some cases, the court does not need the permission of the biological parents to proceed with the adoption. This is typically the case if the court has previously terminated the birth parents' rights in the best interests of the child.
Adopting a child can be a very lengthy and complicated process. Before beginning the process, it is important to understand your rights as adopting parents in addition to the rights of the child. Contact a local Spokane family law attorney for advice on expanding your family through adoption.