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Keffer Hirschauer LLP: Your Indiana Adoption Attorney

Dedicated Adoption Attorneys in Indiana

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    Keffer Hirschauer LLP: Your Indiana Adoption Attorney

    Adoption is not just a legal process, it’s a life-changing decision that profoundly affects the lives of everyone involved in the adoption triad: the child, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents. Given this, it’s vital that anyone who finds themselves on the path to adoption secures top-tier legal representation. The right Indiana adoption attorney doesn’t just ensure compliance with the myriad legal requirements, they advocate for your family’s future; ensuring the parent’s and child’s best interests is at the heart of every decision.

    At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we understand that the journey to adoption is one filled with hope, dreams, and sometimes, challenges. As your dedicated Indiana adoption attorneys, we are here to offer the caring, compassionate, and expert assistance you need to navigate the legal landscape of adoption in an efficient and compliant manner.

    With a deep understanding of Indiana’s adoption laws and a commitment to making your adoption experience as smooth as possible, our team is prepared to guide you every step of the way. To begin working with an adoption attorney in Indiana today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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      Dedicated Adoption Attorneys in Indiana

      Whether you are considering adopting a child in Indiana or exploring other possibilities, like grandparent or stepparent adoption, the legal landscape can be challenging to navigate alone. That’s where we come in. Each adoption attorney in Indiana that we employ is well-versed in adoption law and committed to providing personalized support tailored to your unique situation. From understanding consent laws to managing home study requirements and finalizing your adoption, the Indiana family law attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP stand ready to ensure your path to parenthood is supported by expertise and empathy.

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      Lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are skilled litigators, shrewd legal researchers, and compassionate legal service providers who want to help protect your rights

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      Each path to adoption can vary significantly; from uncontested cases, where all parties agree, to contested ones, where disputes arise. Our Indiana adoption attorneys are skilled in handling both scenarios. In uncontested adoptions, we streamline the process, ensuring all legal requirements are met efficiently. In contested adoptions, our passionate family law litigators are prepared to advocate vigorously for their clients’ rights, navigating the complexities of the legal system to reach a resolution that serves the child’s best interests.

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      Stepparent adoption is a beautiful step toward uniting a blended family, but it comes with its own legal hurdles, including the termination of the biological parent’s rights. The Indiana adoption attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are well-versed in the laws governing stepparent adoptions and are more than capable of providing the legal guidance needed to navigate this process smoothly. From filing the necessary petitions to representing families in court, our attorneys are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible, ensuring the family’s legal structure reflects its loving reality.

      Grandparent adoption in Indiana presents a unique set of legal circumstances, often pursued to provide a stable, loving home for a grandchild. Whether due to the inability of the biological parents to care for the child or other reasons, grandparent adoption solidifies the legal relationship between a grandparent and grandchild. Each Indiana adoption attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP is well-versed in navigating these sensitive situations, ensuring that grandparents understand their legal rights and responsibilities. Our team can guide you through the process of obtaining consent, terminating parental rights when necessary, and finalizing the adoption, ensuring the child’s best interests are at the forefront.

      Guardianship

      Guardianship is a legal mechanism that allows non-biological parents to make decisions for a child’s welfare, education, and health. The team at Keffer Hirschauer LLP understands the nuances of Indiana guardianship laws and can assist in establishing guardianship arrangements that protect the child’s well-being. Whether temporary or permanent guardianship is sought, our attorneys provide the expertise to ensure the guardianship process is conducted clearly, legally, and with the child’s best interests as the primary focus.

      Third-Party Custody

      Third-party custody cases involve individuals other than the biological parents—such as close relatives or family friends—seeking custody of a child. These cases often arise in complex family situations where the child’s welfare is at stake. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our adoption attorneys bring a wealth of experience in representing third-party custodians in Indiana, navigating the legal system to establish a stable and secure environment for the child. Our team works diligently to present a compelling case for custody, emphasizing the child’s safety, health, and emotional well-being.

      Overview of Indiana Adoption Law

      The Indiana adoption laws, located in Indiana Code 31-19, are designed to protect the interests of all parties involved in an adoption; including the child, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents. They also present Hoosiers with a clear process to pursue in order to contest or complete an adoption in a legally compliant manner.

      The various laws addressed below provide an overview of how the State regulates the Indiana adoption process. However, as you may notice, they are quite complex and often require legal assistance to fully understand. To best ensure that everything is being done in a legally compliant and efficient manner, call the Indiana adoption law firm of Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or use our online contact form to schedule a free, confidential case consultation.

      Filing a Petition for Adoption

      Per Indiana Code 31-19-2-2, any person who seeks to adopt a child less than 18 years of age must file a petition for adoption with the clerk of the court having probate jurisdiction in the county in which (a) the petitioner for adoption resides; (b) a licensed child placing agency or government agency having custody of the child is located; (c) the attorney maintains an office; or the child resides. This petition must be crafted in compliance with Indiana Code 31-19-2-6 and filed in triplicate (or quadruplicate, if the adoption is sponsored by a licensed child placing agency). On top of that, the original copy of the petition must be verified by oath or affirmation of each petitioner for adoption.

      Notice of Adoption

      When a petition for adoption has been filed, the Indiana adoption laws require that notice be given to certain individuals. Under Indiana Code 31-19-2.5-3, these individuals and entities can include: any person or entity whose consent to adoption is required; a putative father entitled to notice; a grandparent of a child sought to be adopted; a licensed child placing agency of which the child is a ward; the local department of child services; or the entity/facility/individual of which the child is a ward.

      Criminal History Check and Home Study

      Prior to a child being placed in a proposed adoptive home, Indiana Code 31-19-7-1 requires that a licensed child placing agency or the department of child services conduct a criminal history check on the proposed adoptive parent and any other person currently residing in the home. In addition a home study report must be conducted, in compliance with Indiana Code 31-19-8-5, no more than sixty days from the date of reference of a petition for adoption. This report must, to the extent possible, include information related to the former environment and antecedents of the child; the fitness of the child for adoption; and the suitability of the proposed home for the child.

      Consent to Adoption

      Under Indiana Code 31-19-9-1, a petition to adopt a child who is less than 18 years of age may only be granted if written consent to adoption has been executed by the following:

      • Each parent of a child born in wedlock, including a man who is presumed to be the child’s biological father under Indiana Code 31-14-7-1 if the man is the biological or adoptive parent of the child
      • The mother of a child born out of wedlock and the biological father of the child if the father’s paternity has been established by court proceeding or paternity affidavit (unless the putative father gives implied consent to the adoption under Indiana Code 31-19-15)
      • The court having jurisdiction of the custody of the child, if the legal guardian or custodian of the person of the child is not empowered to consent to the adoption
      • The child to be adopted if they are more than 14 years of age
      • A man who is not the biological father of the child if (a) the man has proven to the court that it is in the best interest of the child to be adopted to require his consent; AND (b) the paternity of the child has been established by a court proceeding or paternity affidavit

      Execution of Consent

      The consent to adoption may be executed or acknowledged at any time after the child’s birth, either in the court’s presence, a notary public, or an authorized agent of the department or child placing agency. However, as stated in Indiana Code 31-19-9-2, the child’s mother may not execute a consent to adoption before the birth of the child. The father, on the other hand, may execute consent prior to the birth of the child if the consent is in writing, signed by the child’s father in the presence of a notary public. The consent document must also contain acknowledgement that the consent to adoption is irrevocable, and the child’s father will not receive notice of the adoption proceedings.

      No Consent to Adoption Required

      As outlined in Indiana Code 31-19-9-8, consent to adoption by one or both parents is not required in some situations. These include, but are not limited to:

      • When the child has been adjudged to have been abandoned or deserted for at least six months prior to the date of filing the petition to adopt
      • When a child has been in the custody of another person for a period of one year and the parent fails to communicate significantly with the child when able to do so or knowingly fails to provide for the care and support of the child when able to do so as required by law or judicial decree
      • When the biological father of a child born out of wedlock has not established paternity
      • When the child was conceived out of wedlock as a result of rape, child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor or incest by the biological father 
      • When a parent’s parent-child relationship has been legally terminated
      • When a parent has been judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective, if the court dispenses with the parent’s consent to adoption

      Finalization of Adoption

      Indiana Code 31-19-11-1 states that once a court has heard the evidence and finds all legal elements of the adoption have been satisfied, they may grant the petition for adoption and enter an adoption decree. This decree shall then be provided to the clerk of the circuit court for the official order book record and must set forth all pertinent information necessary to make possible the establishment of birth records. Then, no later than the tenth day of each calendar month, the clerk of the court shall forward to the Indiana Department of Health records of the adoption decree for processing. Unless requested by the court, the adoptive parents or adoptee, the Department of Health shall then move to establish a new certificate of birth for the adopted individual; upon which the original registration of birth shall then be filed with the evidence of adoption.

      Adoption Attorneys vs Adoption Agencies in Indiana

      When embarking on the journey of adoption in Indiana, prospective parents have two primary resources: adoption agencies and adoption attorneys. Both play crucial roles in the adoption process, but they serve different functions. Understanding the unique capabilities of adoption attorneys, especially in complex legal matters, can be pivotal for those navigating the intricacies of Indiana’s adoption laws.

      Adoption agencies in Indiana are wonderful resources for connecting children with prospective parents and providing support services such as counseling, home studies, and post-placement visits. However, when legal complexities arise, such as contested adoptions or third-party custody and guardianship issues, the special skills of an adoption attorney in Indiana become indispensable.

      At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our adoption attorneys are dedicated to offering comprehensive legal services that address the full spectrum of adoption-related challenges. By choosing to work with an Indiana adoption attorney from our firm you gain a legal advocate who is fully prepared to address any legal hurdles, ensuring that your path to adoption is as smooth and secure as possible. In addition, you’ll receive:

      Keffer Hirschauer LLP: Your Indiana Adoption Law Firm

      At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we believe that every child deserves a loving, stable home, and every family’s journey to adoption should be supported by the highest standard of legal care and personal compassion. Our experienced and skilled adoption attorneys in Indiana are dedicated to guiding you through each step of the adoption process. We understand the emotional and legal complexities involved and stand ready to provide the support, advice, and representation you need to navigate this significant life event.

      Whether you’re considering grandparent adoption, stepparent adoption, navigating the waters of contested and uncontested adoptions, or seeking guardianship or third-party custody, our team is here for you. We take pride in our ability to blend comprehensive legal expertise with a caring touch, making us the trusted choice for families across Indiana.

      Looking for an Indiana adoption attorney? Contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Let our experienced Indiana adoption lawyers be your guide, your advocate, and your support, ensuring your adoption journey is enveloped in both the compassion and the legal excellence you and your family deserve.

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