Minot Adoption Attorney
Finalize Your North Dakota Adoption With Rowenhorst Law
Adding a new member to your family via adoption is an exciting, happy, and rewarding experience. That being said, adoption is a legal process, so you may want an attorney on your side to help explain all the details. At Rowenhorst Law, our Minot adoption lawyer would be honored to represent you during this special time.
If you’re looking for honest, compassionate legal counsel, look no further than our firm. We will keep you informed every step of the way and handle your case with the utmost professionalism.
We also offer free, 30 minute consultations to help you get started — call us at (701) 203-9220 to schedule yours today.
Types of Adoption
Every adoption is a unique experience based on the needs and desires of both the birth parents and the prospective parents. The types of adoption available in North Dakota include:
- Infant adoption
- Identified adoption
- Special needs adoption
- International adoption
- Relative adoption
- Stepparent adoption
Infant & Identified Adoption
Infant adoption usually takes place within an adoption agency, but birth parents can also independently identify an adoptive family with whom they wish to place their child (identified adoption).
Family members like grandparents, aunts, uncles, and adult siblings adopt their minor relatives all the time, and the state even waives the home study for adults adopting relatives who have been living with them for at least 9 months.
Stepparents may also wish to adopt the children of their spouses, particularly in situations where the other natural parent has abandoned the children or agrees to the adoption.
To proceed with a stepparent adoption in North Dakota, the child's non-custodial parent, if living, must consent to the adoption. However, there are several exceptions to this requirement, which include the following:
- Non-custodial parent deserted or abandoned the child
- Non-custodial parent has not provided for the child as required by law or court order for one year
- Non-custodial parent’s parental rights were terminated by the court
- Non-custodial parent has relinquished his/her right to consent
- Non-custodial parent has been judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective
- The court determines that waiving the requirement of the non-custodial parent's consent is in the best interests of the child
If none of these circumstances apply, and the non-custodial parent still has parental rights, the adoption cannot proceed if they refuse to consent to it.
Once consent is given, or if the court determines that consent is not required given the circumstances presented, the court will grant a request for a stepparent adoption after a hearing.
When it comes to a family member or grandparent adoption, the courts in North Dakota will only take a child away from their parents if both have died or if it is shown that the parents cannot provide care for the child. In these cases, it must be shown that the care is so inadequate that the child’s welfare, health, and safety would be compromised.
A grandparent or other family member could get custody under extraordinary circumstances as well, such as when a grandparent has custody of their grandchild for an extended period. If the grandparent can prove that returning the child to his/her parent would cause serious harm to him/her, it is possible the court would allow the grandparent to keep custody.
When it comes to family adoptions, it is best to speak with an experienced attorney to determine your rights and how to proceed with adopting your grandchild or another family member in the event of their parent's death.
No matter what type of adoption is right for you and your family, our Minot adoption attorney is here to help.
What are North Dakota's Adoption Laws?
In North Dakota, anyone who needs a home is eligible to be adopted. North Dakota defines adoption as “a court action in which an adult assumes legal and other responsibilities for another, usually a minor.”
In North Dakota, any married or unmarried adult can adopt “any individual,” although those over 10 years old must consent to the adoption.
The laws for adoption are laid out in North Dakota Century Code Chapter 14-15, also known as the Revised Uniform Adoption Act (opens a digital PDF).
Before most adoptions are finalized, prospective parents must complete a 6-month home study or investigation to ensure their living space and lifestyle is suitable for children. Anyone who wishes to challenge the adoption must do so within 1 year.
Most adoptions are handled through the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Children and Family Services Division, along with private adoption agencies and local lawyers.
How to Adopt
If you are ready to adopt, you should take the following steps to adoption, as laid out by the Department of Human Services:
- Do your research (you’re working on that right now!)
- Choose the type of adoption that fits best for you and your family
- Choose a private adoption agency
- Understand the fees involved
- Participate in the pre-placement inquiry or “home study”
- Honor the waiting period
- Complete the legal procedures
Although you can wait until the final step to hire an attorney, many individuals and families prefer to retain a lawyer throughout the entire adoption process. At Rowenhorst Law, we are flexible to work around your needs, and we can provide as much or as little support as you need during your adoption. Rest assured, we will have open channels of communication and unmatched attention to detail the entire time.
Get Legal Help
Whether you need help choosing the best type of adoption or you’re ready to finalize your adoption with North Dakota courts, our firm is here to provide an honest and accurate representation. We have plenty of experience in family law, and we handle our clients’ most sensitive legal matters with compassion and a personal touch.
Find out if Rowenhorst Law is right for you during a free, 30-minute consultation. We look forward to getting to know you and your family and helping you finalize your adoption.
All you need to do is call us at (701) 203-9220 or contact us online today.