Adoption Lawyers in Louisville, Kentucky
Legal Counsel You Can Trust for Your Adoption in Oldham, Spencer, Shelby, Bullitt, Anderson, and Franklin Counties
Adoptions allow Kentucky Family Courts to help place children in the custody of caring adoptive parents. Because children are involved, the legal processes require thorough documentation and various assessments to ensure parents are the right fit for the child they want to adopt. Although adoption can be difficult and especially complicated at times, the experienced counsel of our Louisville adoption attorneys at Hodge & Smither can help you successfully navigate the legal process.
Types of Adoption in Kentucky
There are six distinct types of adoptions in Kentucky:
- Public or Private Agency Adoption
- International Adoption
- Independent Adoption
- Stepparent Adoption
- Relative Adoption
- Adult Adoption
Each of these adoption types have their own considerations and requirements. International adoptions, for instance, can be especially tricky to navigate because adoptive parents will have to address legal concerns in both the United States and the adopted child’s country of origin. Likewise, independent adoptions require an intermediary to ensure the birth parents and adoptive parents complete and provide the necessary documentation to make the adoption agreement legal.
Regardless of your situation, the attorneys at Hodge & Smither have the experience and skill to help you meet the unique requirements of your adoption.
All adults over the age of 18 can adopt children in Kentucky. Except in cases of stepparent adoptions or at a court’s discretion, couples who are married need to engage in the legal process jointly.
How Consent Features in Kentucky Adoption
In many instances, the would-be adoptive parents must get the consent of the child’s parents to proceed with the adoption. After 20 days of giving consent to the adoption, it becomes irrevocable.
There are also instances where consent is not required.
When this happens, it is generally the case that either one or more of the following things are true:
- The parents are mentally incapable of providing consent
- They have caused harm to the child
- They have provided inadequate care or no care at all
The Kentucky Adoption Home Study
Before applying for adoption, adoptive parents must complete a home study, which is a rigorous review process that aims to make certain a child will enter the custody of a couple or an individual who is able to provide them with the care they deserve.
According to state law, whether a couple’s gross income is above or below 250 percent of the United States’ poverty level determines who completes the home study. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services will typically complete the review for those below the level, and a child placement agency will complete it for couples earning above the level.
To complete the study, adoptive parents will:
- Provide three references, one of which must be from a family relative
- Submit two financial references
- Be subject to criminal background checks, as well as child abuse and neglect checks
Additionally, a representative from the appropriate entity will visit the adoptive parents’ home and conduct interviews with both parents and other household members.
In cases where the adoptive parents are relatives or stepparents of the child, courts do not usually conduct a full home study but will instead only require a background check.
What Makes Adoptive Parents Fail a Home Study?
Potential adoptive parents fail a home study when:
- Their background checks show they have a felony
- The reviewing entity finds that a sex offender lives in the household
- The reviewing entity discovers that members of the household have been subject to abuse by another person living in the home
Beyond the Home Study
The state’s inspection of adoptive parents does not end at a successful home study. In addition to the initial review, a representative of the state will examine the adoptive parents’ petition for adoption and determine if the legal placement of the child within the home was in the child’s best interest. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services will complete this “post-placement review” not more than 90 days after the child’s placement.
Kentucky’s home study, in addition to the adoption application itself and other requirements, demand a great deal from families seeking to adopt a child. Our Louisville adoption attorneys at Hodge & Smither have years of experience that can help you navigate the complexities of the adoption process with confidence.