Washington County Family Law Attorneys Help Clients with Adoption

Guiding clients through the adoption process in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Stillwater and Woodbury, MN

About 2,000 children are adopted in Minnesota every year. Of these, more than a third are stepparent or relative adoptions, and the others include international adoptions, infant adoptions and adoptions of children under state guardianship. In an adoption, the adoptive parents assume all legal rights and responsibilities of the biological parents in connection with the child. All parties — especially the adoptive parents — should have legal representation. At Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., we are experienced in resolving the issues that arise during the adoption process.

What is the adoption process in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, birth parents, adoptive parents and the courts must take a number of steps before a court can grant an adoption petition. Those steps include:

  • Birth parents —The birth parents must sign a form consenting to the adoption. They cannot sign the consent form until 72 hours after the child's birth. The form must be signed within 60 days after the child's placement with the prospective adoptive parents. The consent becomes final 10 business days after the birth parents sign it. During those 10 days, the birth parents can still request the return of the child. On the 11th day, however, the consent becomes irrevocable. If a birth parent refuses to sign a consent to the adoption, it may be possible to terminate that parent’s parental rights to the child.
  • Adoptive parents — The prospective adoptive parents must submit to an adoption home study, conducted by a licensed adoption agency or the county social services department. A home study may not be required if the prospective adoptive parent is a grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle or stepparent of the child.
  • The courts — Prospective adoptive parents must seek an order from their county’s district court for placement of the child. No formal hearing is required at this point. The court reviews the home study and certain other documents, and decides whether to approve the placement. Within 12 months of the placement, the prospective parents must file a petition for adoption. The court will set a hearing date on the petition.  The child must have lived with the prospective adoptive parents for at least three months before the hearing.  Before the hearing, the agency that supervised the placement must submit its report to the court. At the hearing, the court will grant the adoption if the court determines that the adoption is in the child’s best interest. The records of the adoption are then sealed.

Our experienced family law attorneys keep prospective adoptive parents informed of every step of the adoption process.

What are the financial requirements to adopt a child?

Agencies that are part of the Public/Private Adoption Initiative do not charge fees for adoptions of Minnesota’s waiting children. Additionally, those who adopt children under state guardianship may be reimbursed for out-of-pocket costs up to $2,000. Adoptive parents may also be eligible for a federal tax credit for adoption.

Contact our experienced Minnesota adoption lawyers today

With offices in Oakdale and Braham, Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. serves clients throughout Minnesota including, in Washington County, Dakota County, Burnsville, Eagan and Woodbury, MN. We have more than 30 years of combined experience in helping families overcome legal obstacles. Contact us online, or call us at 651.760.7524.