Bucks County Family Law



Adopting a child is a defining moment of someone’s life. A person who wants to raise a child can use the adoption process to become the parent they deserve to be. Once an adoption is completed, adoptive parents have all the rights and privileges of biological parents.

Biological parents, meanwhile, may have difficulty caring for a minor child. They want to do what’s best for themselves and their child. The adoption process allows for birth mothers and birth fathers to have some control over their child’s future. As such, by agreeing to an adoption, adoptive parents, biological parents, and the child all benefit.

Pennsylvania Adoption Law

For as beneficial as adoption proceedings are, even voluntary adoption proceedings for minor children can be very difficult and complex. Parental rights must be terminated, home studies may need to be conducted, and a myriad of other regulations may apply. As such, whether you are an adoptive parent or a biological parent, seeking legal counsel for these proceedings is crucial.

Not all adoptions are voluntary, moreover. In some instances, a biological parent may not wish to lose their parental rights to a child but, due to circumstances, are at risk of having their parental rights involuntarily terminated. To prevent this, the biological parent must hire an attorney as soon as possible to ensure their future with their child is not compromised.

As an attorney specialized in Pennsylvania family law, Lauren D’Alessandro understands the various aspects of adoption law and the legal skills necessary to represent a party in adoption proceedings. Lauren has negotiated numerous family law orders and will use that experience to assist you. Contact her to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards resolving any adoption issues you have.

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

In Pennsylvania, when a parent wishes to place their child for adoption the legal term for doing so is called a voluntary termination of parental rights. Courts usually will not accept a voluntary termination of parental rights if a family has not stepped forward to adopt the child. However, where someone is willing to do so, courts are amenable to hearing such requests.

By voluntarily rather than involuntarily terminating your parental rights, you are saving yourself time and money. There is no legal battle involved. As long as the court accepts your request, the adoption can continue. However, given how complex adoption proceedings are even with voluntary termination of parental rights, both adoptive parents and birth parents are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel in these proceedings.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Under Pennsylvania law, adoption proceedings involving involuntary termination of parental rights are much more difficult. Due to how important parental rights are, the law permits such terminations only in certain situations. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Abandonment of the child for a period of 6 months
  2. Severe abuse or neglect of the child
  3. The parent is the presumptive but not natural father of the child
  4. The child is found but the parents’ identity and whereabouts are unknown and unascertainable after a diligent search AND the child is not claimed after 3 months
  5. Living conditions have caused the child to be removed, 6 months have passed, these conditions have not been remedied, they are unlikely to be remedied, AND terminating parental rights is in the best interests of the child
  6. Living conditions have caused the child to be removed, 12 months have passed, these conditions have not been remedied, AND terminating parental rights is in the best interests of the child
  7. In the case of a newborn, the parent knows or has reason to know of the child's birth, does not reside with the child, has not married the child's other parent, has failed for a period of four months immediately preceding the filing of the petition to make reasonable efforts to maintain substantial and continuing contact with the child and has failed during the same four-month period to provide substantial financial support for the child
  8. The parent is the father of a child conceived as a result of a rape or incest
  9. The parent has been convicted of homicide, aggravated assault, or an attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation of either of those offenses
  10. Sexual abuse of the child or another child of the parent
  11. The parent is required to register as a sex offender

Where one of these conditions occur, involuntary termination is possible. If you are a parent and are defending against one of these claims, you are highly encouraged to discuss your situation with an attorney.

Hiring an Attorney Matters

Regardless of the area of family law you are litigating, hiring an attorney experienced and specialized in family law is crucial. Attorney Lauren D’Alessandro represents clients in Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Her office is located in Newtown and she invites you to contact her to schedule a consultation. You can contact her here. She looks forward to hearing from you!

Lauren D’Alessandro

Lauren Anthony D'Alessandro's Profile Image
Lauren is located in Newtown, Pennsylvania and provides legal services for Bucks County, Philadelphia County, and Montgomery County. She specializes in family law and provides services for a whole range of family law matters. Whether you are seeking…

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