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Lexington Step-Parent Adoption Attorney

If you have step-children in your live and would like to create a single legal family unit then an adoption may be for you. We can help you determine if a step-parent adoption is right for you and your family, and help you through the legal process.

As more and more families are becoming blended due to the inclusion of children from prior relationships, the law has procedures in place that can make a step-parent adoption faster and less expensive than traditional adoptions. There are numerous advantages to having this process completed.

In order to qualify for an adoption it is necessary that at least one of the biological parents have their parental rights terminated. This is a legal process that will either require the consent of that parent, or a thorough showing to the Court that legally significant circumstances exist and that a termination of parental rights is in the child's best interest.

We offer services for cases where the other biological parent is willing to consent to the adoption, as well as in cases where they cannot be located or are not in agreement with the adoption process. Cases where the other parent is in agreement are generally referred to as uncontested, all other circumstances are considered contested.

We accept cases in Lexington, Columbia, Spartanburg, Charleston and throughout South Carolina

An uncontested Lexington step-parent adoption can generally be completed in 60-90 days. Fees are set on a flat-rate basis meaning that you will know the total cost up front to cover not only your legal fees, but also the fees required by the Court, and required guardian ad litem and witnessing attorney.

Uncontested Adoption Process

  • Contact our office for your initial consultation – call (803) 359-3301
  • Meet with an experienced adoption attorney who will review with you the legal process, establish a time frame for completing your case as well as answer any questions you may have
  • After signing a written contract with our office that explains all fees we will begin your case
  • We will file the paperwork with the Family Court to begin your adoption case
  • The other biological parent will meet with a witnessing attorney to accept service of the paperwork as well as to complete a consent form
  • We will have a guardian ad litem appointed to represent the children involved, they will review the paperwork we have filed with the Court and they with interview you (and children depending on their age). Depending on your circumstances the guardian may also visit your home, or interview other people with knowledge of your family
  • Once all the preliminary work is complete we will schedule a final meeting with you in our office to prepare to conclude your case
  • We will attend a final hearing before a Family Court judge and will present the legal evidence necessary to have your adoption finalized.
  • We will prepare the Court order to approve the adoption, as well as authorizing the birth certificate(s) to be amended and any name change
  • You will receive a copy of all final documents to conclude your case

Important Adoption Terms

Adoption: The process to officially designate a non-biological parent as being the legal parent

Best Interests of the Child: The standard used by the Court to determine whether or not a termination of parental rights or adoption should be granted. The Court will consider a variety of factors, taking in consideration each families unique circumstances.

Contested: A case where there is not an agreement with both biological parents that an adoption should occur, including situations where a parent may have abandoned their child and now cannot be located

Family Court: The type of Court that hears adoption cases in South Carolina. Each county has its own Family Court. Cases are decided by a judge only without a jury.

Final Hearing: In uncontested cases this will be the only time you will have to go to Court. At the final hearing we will present the evidence that the other parent has consented, or the evidence required for the Court to approve a termination of parental rights as well as the adoption. Both adopting parents along with their lawyer and the guardian ad litem will be present.

Guardian ad litem:A designated legal representative for the child to be adopted. This will be an attorney appointed by the Court who will conduct an investigation into the circumstances of your case and then come to your final hearing to provide a required report to the Court. Although the guardian ad litem will not be an attorney employed with our office we will assist the Court by nominating a suitable attorney for your case.

Parental Rights: The legal concept that a biological parent always has some legal connection to their child. Parental rights are not the same thing as custody or visitation rights.

Termination of Parental Rights: The process by which a biological parent's parental rights, that is their legal connection, to a child is terminated. Once the rights are terminated the parent no longer has standing to seek custody or visitation and no long has to pay ongoing child support.

Uncontested: A term to describe a situation where the other biological parent can be located and is willing to consent to and cooperate with the adoption process. Usually in an uncontested case the other parent will agree to execute a legal document consenting to both having their parental rights terminated as well as to the adoption.

Witnessing Attorney: An attorney who is not employed with our office who will meet with the other parent in an uncontested case to review and witness the execution of a form consenting to the termination of their parental rights as well as to the adoption.

Schedule your Appointment Today

The first step in discussing your case is to contact our office to schedule your initial consultation. Please call (803) 359-3301. A consultation fee will be charged by our office for your initial consultation.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr. LLC
Located at 123 Harmon Street Lexington, SC 29072. View Map
Phone: (888) 304-2418