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Lexington Adoption Costs

Before we begin any adoption costs the first step is to review both South Carolina Adoption Procedures along with the associated fees and costs. The following information serves as an introduction to the setting of Attorney's Fees in adoption cases as well as to the common expenses. In order to obtain an estimate for your case contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. Our South Carolina Adoption Attorney will be able to provide a detailed explanation of all required fees and expenses are consultation with you regarding your specific case.

Adoption Attorney's Fees

Attorney's fees are determined by considering a range of factors. This includes the location of the case, whether the biological parent(s) can be located, whether the biological parent(s) consent and whether or not the child to be adopted is related by blood or marriage to the adopting parents.

We are available to charge our clients fees in one of two ways for adoption cases. The first is a flat rate fee that covers all of the legal fees and staff time. This fee structure is usually selected in cases which are uncontested - such as many surrogacy, uncontested and step-parent adoptions. The exact fee is determined at the onset of the case - which can be paid either up front or broken into two or three installments. At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, most adoption cases are accepted on a flat fee basis.

The other fee structure is hourly. This fee structure is usually selected in cases which are contested or due to complexities in the case it is impossible to accurately forecast the amount of legal services required to complete the matter. In an hourly fee structure our client is charged a fee for all time spent by either an attorney or paralegal. The client pays an initial deposit (called a retainer) into our trust account to cover legal fees and case expenses. As the case progresses the client receives billing statements and agrees to reimburse the retainer back to its original amount. At the conclusion of the case all unused retainer funds are returned to the client.

Adoption Costs

The following are the most common expenses in a South Carolina adoption case include:

  • Court Filing Fees - The Family Court will charge a fee to file the initial paperwork to initiate the adoption case. Additionally as the case progresses there are usually legal motions to be filed that also require initial filing fees.
  • Service of Process - The biological parents of the adopted child are required to be given legal notice of the filing of an adoption action. Typically a process server is employed to deliver the legal notice to them.
  • Guardian Ad Litem - South Carolina adoption law requires that the Court appoint a guardian ad litem to serve as legal counsel for a minor child in all adoption cases. This must be a third-party attorney not employed by the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. In many routine and uncontested cases our office will be able to make the necessary arrangements directly with an attorney willing to serve as the guardian ad litem and obtain the necessary Family Court approvals.
  • Witnessing Attorney - In the event that the biological parent(s) consents to the adoption a form called a "Consent and Relinquishment" is completed and filed with the Court. The consent parent(s) is required to have obtained independent legal advice and counsel prior to completing this form. This must come from a licensed attorney not employed by the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. Our office will be able to assist in coordinating the engagement of a witnessing attorney as necessary.
  • State Record Fees - At the conclusion of an adoption case it is not uncommon to amend the child's birth certificate to reflect the identities of the new adopting parents. The State office of vital statistics charges an administrative fee for the amendment and for copies of the new record.
  • Newspaper Advertisement - In the event that one or more of the biological parents cannot be located to be served with the notice of the adoption case it may be necessary to run an advertisement in a local newspaper. Our office will coordinate the approval for this process with the Family Court and then oversee the submission and publication of the legal notice. This procedure is also employed when the exact identify of a biological parent is unknown.

To discuss your adoption case with our office contact us at (803) 359-3301.

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