In a previous blog, we discussed the process to determine whether your adoption filing would be contested or uncontested. This determination dictates which petitions need to be filed and when. Now it is time to discuss what to expect after the petitions are filed.
Whether or not you filed a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights or a Petition to Confirm Consent, you MUST also file a Petition for Adoption. The Adoption Petition may be filed before or after parental rights of the birth parents have been terminated.
The purpose of the Adoption Petition is to inform the court that Petitioners are the adoptive parents, and they are asking the Court to enter a Final Adoption Decree. The Petition will contain information pertaining to the adoptive parents, biological parents, child to be adopted and includes the new name of the child.
Once the Adoption Petition is filed, the Court will provide you with an Order setting forth the date of the Adoption hearing. There may be a long delay between your filing of the petition and the hearing date due to local rules for service on all of the parties.
Many clients ask who must attend the hearing? Adoptive parents and adoptive child(ren) must attend. If there are other siblings in the home, they should attend, as well. The court will hear testimony from adoptive parents and the Intermediary.
If the child is age 12 or older, the child must testify and consent to the adoption. The child will need to sign a Consent, as well. No need to be nervous, the judges do a great job at making everyone feel comfortable during the testimony. As for who may attend? You may invite friends and relatives to attend the final adoption hearing for moral support, but they will not be asked to speak.
In order to properly prepare for the testimony which must be presented to the judge, you should seek skilled legal representation. The family law and adoption attorneys at Trinity Law are available through our website or you may call 717-843-8046.