Q

1. Does my adoption have to be handled by an adoption court?

A

Yes. All domestic adoptions must be approved by an adoption court, no matter if you are working with an adoption agency or on your own. The process involves filing a petition with the court and going through an adoption hearing after a certain period of time. Often, the final court decree approving the adoption is a special event celebrated by adopting families. Requirements regarding international adoptions tend to differ from domestic adoption laws.

Q

2. Are there any requirements regarding what my adoption petition should say?

A

Yes, you must include certain information on the adoption petition you submit to the court. Typically this includes the name and address of the petitioner, the name, age, and gender of the child, and the city and state in which he or she was born. Information about biological parents is also included if it is known. Adoption petition requirements vary from state to state, but all of them require certain basic information about the parties involved in the adoption.

Q

3. What are the legal requirements for international adoption?

A

Legal requirements for international adoption are different depending on the country from which the child is being adopted. Most of the requirements needed for a domestic adoption are included in an international adoption. For instance, internationally adopting families will need to go through a home study which includes visits to their homes and extensive interviews with all of their family members. Additionally, foreign countries might have restrictions on who can adopt from their country and they might require adopting families to live in-country for a certain period of time.

Q

4. What are the different types of adoption?

A

There are several different types of adoption, including:
Domestic closed adoption:

occurs when a child is adopted within the same country and information about the child’s biological parent or parents is not shared with the adopting family.

Domestic open adoption:

occurs when a child is adopted within the same country and information about the child’s biological parent or parents is known.

International adoption:

occurs when someone adopts a child from a foreign country.

Foster care adoption:

occurs when someone adopts a child through the state-run foster care system.

Step-child adoption:

occurs when a step-parent adopts a child that is not biologically his or her own.

Q

5. Can parents reclaim an adopted child?

A

Not if the adoption has been finalized. Some states have a period of time in which the biological mother and father can change their minds about the adoption. This is typically no more than a few days after the child is born or is placed. When a child is part of the foster care system, his or her biological parents must meet certain requirements to reclaim their child, but if their child becomes eligible for adoption they have lost the opportunity to reclaim their child.

Q

6. I have been charged with a drug crime. What are my rights?

A

You have the same rights as anyone else who has been placed under arrest. You have the right to not speak to police. They must tell you that anything you do say can be used as evidence against you. You are entitled to phone call and legal representation and police must stop questioning you once you have requested a lawyer. You have the right to be treated humanely.

Q

7. What if my friend gave me prescription medicine to hold on to and I am stopped by the police?

A

Both you and the person who gave you the prescription medication can get into trouble, but what happens will depend on a number of factors, including the amount you have with you, whether you have the drug in your system, and what you were doing when you were stopped by police. It might also depend on the drug. Should you be stopped while in possession of an illegally obtained prescription, it is important to contact a lawyer.

Q

8. If I know I am guilty, do I even need a lawyer?

A

Yes, it is important to have a lawyer represent you any time you are accused of a crime, regardless whether you are guilty or innocent. Even if you are guilty, a lawyer will work to ensure you receive the least punishment possible. This might include a plea deal. Lawyers also ensure clients are treated according to the law, so you will know your rights are not being violated. Even if you plead guilty, it is important to work with a lawyer.

Q

9. What is arraignment?

A

Arraignment is the formal reading of the criminal charging document. One of the most important things that happen during the arraignment is that you are informed of the charges against you. In most legal systems you will have the right to have the entire indictment read in front of you. The arraignment is also when bail is set, if you are eligible. Finally, the judge sets the next court date and lawyers can file motions or requests for discovery.

Q

10. Will I have a criminal record forever?

A

It depends. If you committed a crime before you were of age your criminal record will be sealed. If you are over the age of consent when you are found guilty of a crime it will remain on your record forever unless you have it expunged. Expungement means the conviction is “set aside” and your criminal record is sealed from public view. This means it can only legally be viewed by specific non-public parties, such as government agencies.

About Kunz

Bruce Kunz - Civil Matter and Lawsuit Attorney

Lawyers who serve the poor without charge should be celebrated. By generously donating their time and talent, they change lives.