Adoption Attorneys in Oklahoma City, OK
Helping Families with Over 75+ Years of Combined Experience
Simmons & Associates is proud to be part of an experience as important and heartwarming as providing a forever home for children in need. Adoption can be an amazing journey for anyone who has the life-changing goal of creating a family and welcoming a new addition. However, it can also be a confusing process, with disputes and ever-evolving rules and regulations - but with the help of our experienced adoption attorneys you don't have to do it all alone.
With years of experience representing clients who are looking to build their families through adoption, our attorneys are well-equipped with the knowledge and understanding of the specific legal processes needed. We strive to make your family expansion process as stress-free as possible so that you can look forward to introducing your child into your family. Our team is dedicated to helping you embark on your parenthood journey with legal guidance.
We Help Clients with the Following Types of Adoption
- Contested adoptions
- Step-parent adoptions
- Sibling/Grandparent adoptions
- ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) compliance
- DHS Adoptions
What Are Contested Adoptions?
Protection & Advocacy for Clients
Contested adoptions occur when one legal parent does not consent to the adoption. The biological parent may contest the removal of their rights and/or the adoption of their child. Contested adoptions can quickly become difficult, and hiring an experienced attorney can help you navigate this process.
Situations that create a contested adoption may include:
- A child is put up for adoption and the other legal parent objects
- A legal parent disputes a previously executed surrender
- A birth parent challenges their prior termination of parental rights
The process of contested adoption can be an emotionally and legally demanding experience. There can be long legal battles that come with a contested adoption and navigating such cases requires knowledge of adoption laws and rulings. Simmons & Associates can make this complicated process easier to manage. With our attorneys, we can help you on the path to a smoother journey through the adoption process.
Call today at (405) 591-2284.
What Does Step-Parent Adoption Require?
A step-parent adoption, or a “related adoption” as it is otherwise known in Oklahoma, differs greatly from a standard adoption. The greatest benefits of a step-parent adoption include that there are no home studies required and wait times are much shorter than through other processes.
Requirements for step-parent adoptions include:
- A step-parent must be married to the child’s biological parent for at least one year before adoption
- The child’s other birth parent must terminate their parental rights
- The birth parent married to the step-parent must be involved during the adoption petition process
If all requirements are met, then the entire process can typically take around forty-five days to complete. Of course, this timeline may be extended depending on how long it takes to meet any requirements before moving ahead with adoption proceedings.
Can Grandparents or Siblings Adopt?
Oklahoma adoption laws require that the adoptive parent(s) is over the age of 21 before beginning the adoption process. Whether married or single, Oklahoma permits adoption.
Aside from step-parents, another form of relative adoption involves siblings or grandparents adopting children biologically related to them. The process of relative adoptions involves a delicate balance between the rights and autonomy of the child and the wishes of those interested in providing them with a home. These cases require specialized legal guidance, as it is important that all parties understand their rights under the law.
In some cases, this type of adoption is necessary due to the incapacitation of birth parents. Though difficult, taking into consideration all affected parties--particularly an innocent child--is key in ensuring that any decision regarding a relative adoption is made thoughtfully and carefully. Our lawyers at Simmons & Associates are skilled in handling these delicate cases. Reach out to us today for an initial consultation at (405) 591-2284 or schedule with us online.
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in OKC
The ICWA is a federal law that outlines the standards for handling cases of Indian children being removed from their homes and placed into foster or adoptive homes. One of the primary goals of this act was to prevent unwarranted removal, as it is understood that a child's sense of identity and culture may be lost or damaged beyond repair if separated from their community. ICWA places importance on tribal social services, extended family and adopted homes ran by Indians themselves, ensuring that such resources are explored thoroughly before removing a child and relying on solely non-Indian options. Since its passage in 1978, this legislation has been monumental in protecting Native American children’s rights to maintain their kinship, belonging, and cultural heritage.
Does the ICWA Apply to My Case?
The ICWA is applied in state custody hearings for Indian children involuntarily removed from their Indian guardianship. The law applies within the following guidelines:
- The Indian child is under 18 years of age, unmarried, and a member of a Federally Recognized Tribe, or
- The Indian child is a biological child of a member of a Federally Recognized Tribe and is eligible for membership in a Federally Recognized Tribe
While ICWA standards apply to many Oklahoma adoptions, navigating the specifics of this type of case can be daunting and confusing alone—especially because the law must be strictly followed, or the adoption can be voided. Rest assured that our attorneys can guide you through this process and ensure compliance at every stage.
DHS Adoptions in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) provides foster care and adoption services for children who cannot live in their own homes. They are in the custody of OKDHS and are placed in a “resource family.” Typically, resource parents eventually adopt the children that are placed with them. However, issues can arise in court such as disagreements on parental right terminations.
With many emotions at stake during the adoption process, working with an attorney at Simmons & Associates can help alleviate stresses and guide you through every step.
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Over 65 Years of Combined Experience on Your Side
Our team has the versatile, in-depth experience to help see your case through from start to finish. We're here to guide you through every step.