The state of New Jersey, like every other state, has very strict guidelines put into place when it comes to adopting a child. The guidelines are meant to protect the best interest of the child to guard against the possibility of them being neglected or abused after being adopted. They are also instituted to protect prospective parents from individuals who could prey on their emotions and feelings. Some of the basic requirements are as follows:
- An individual must be of legal age, 18 years old and at least 10 years older than the child they wish to adopt.
- A married couple may adopt jointly, or a married person who does not currently live with their spouse may also adopt.
- A family member such as the child’s sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandparents, birth father, or even stepparent may also adopt.
- A homes study with individual interviews with all family members who live in the home is required.
- The results of an FBI criminal background check.
- Verification of income and employment, this is required even if you are self-employed.
- Personal and employment references.
How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Child in New Jersey?
The cost of adopting a child can vary in New Jersey and is based on many individual issues that are unique to each adoption case. The cost to adopt a child from a private adoption agency averages anywhere between $15,000 to $50,000 for non-relative adoptions. Even though the cost of private adoption may seem overwhelming, there is help in the form of adoption grants and loans. There is also a resource known as the adoption tax credit, and those who are eligible will help to reimburse adoptive parents for certain costs related to their adoption expenses. However, there is very little, if any cost to adopt a child from a public agency such as children who are in foster care. Our adoption law attorneys can assist you in making decisions that are tailored to your situation and will give you the best results towards your goal of adoption.
Can the Birth Parents Legally Change Their Mind?
According to New Jersey law, once a birth mother has signed the legal documents necessary for adoption, the consent is then considered to be both valid and final. As such her parental rights are terminated permanently. Conversely, a birth mother does have the legal right to change her mind before signing the legal consent form. Once the consent has been given for the adoption, the consent itself can be executed as long as the period of 72 hours has passed. It should also be mentioned that the law states that the biological father must be given a fair opportunity to consent as well by mandating that he be notified in writing as to the plan to place the child up for adoption. If the father denies paternity, this also allows the birth mother to be put up for adoption as well.
Adopting a child is a very noble endeavor with the power to change a child’s entire life. If you are considering adoption and still have more questions, contact us at (908) 879-9499 and schedule an appointment for a free consultation. We look forward to serving you.