What Happens if my Agency or Attorney Screws Up?

You've done your research, and still sometimes things go awry. What to do if you encounter problems during the adoption process.

A couple having a problem with adoption

If your adoption drags on and on, or if you keep getting birth mother matches or child referrals that don’t come close to your requirements, you’ll have to think about making a change.

An adoption agency or attorney should be willing to refund at least part of your fee if you raise reasonable concerns that it hasn’t been earned. Generally, procedures are in place to settle fee disputes. If no other avenue is successful, consider a lawsuit, bearing in mind the high expense (and aggravation) of litigation.

The first step is to look at the contract governing your relationship. Under what circumstances are fees refundable? Has the professional performed the services agreed upon? What does the agreement say will be done if an adoption doesn’t happen? How will fee disputes be handled?

If your adoption professional is an attorney, rules of professional conduct govern his or her practice. Each state has rules similar or identical to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Model Rule 1.5 prohibits a lawyer from collecting an “unreasonable fee.” Factors that determine whether the fee is reasonable include time, labor, and expenses involved — and results obtained. A fee can’t be reasonable if nothing’s been done to earn it. This common-sense proposition should hold true, no matter who is being paid to handle an adoption. Each state has a grievance commission that investigates complaints filed against attorneys, and a mechanism to impose disciplinary measures if violations are found. Contact your state bar association or state supreme court to find out where to file a complaint or request an investigation of an attorney’s behavior.

Similarly, an adoption agency is regulated by its licensing entity, which investigates and processes complaints, and has the ability to suspend or revoke the agency’s license to do business. In most states social workers are licensed, too. The licensing entity may be the state’s department of social services, department of consumers and industry, or some other board or department.

If you have been working with an adoption facilitator, you will have to negotiate a mutual agreement. They are unlicensed and unregulated, and you have no recourse if things go wrong.



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Adoption Attorneys

Rosin Steinhagen Mendel
New York, NY
NJ, NY
Sogand Zamani, Zamani & Associates
Sogand Zamani
Washington, DC
DC, MD
Jennifer Fairfax, Family Formation Law Offices
Jennifer Fairfax
Silver Spring, MD
DC, MD, VA
DC, MD, VA
Joseph, Wiernicki, & Schimming, P.C.
Rockville, MD
DC, MD, VA
MD
Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC
Donald Cofsky
Haddonfield, NJ
NJ, PA
Virginia L. Frank, PC
Boulder, CO
U.S. Newborn
CO, OK
CO, OK
Herrin & Leach, LLC
Nathan Leach
Indianapolis, IN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
IN
Adoption Legal Services of Oklahoma
Charles Watts
Oklahoma City, OK
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
OK
King, Spry, Herman, Freund, Faul, LLC
Dorota Gasienica-Kozak, Esq.
Bethlehem, PA
NJ, PA
Shelley B. Ballard, PC
Chicago, IL
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
IL
The Kern Law Firm PLLC
Jennifer K. Kern
Claremore, OK
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
OK
Stanton Phillips – Adoption Legal Services
Vienna, VA
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
DC, VA
Law Offices of Susan L. Stockham, P.A.
Susan L. Stockham, Esq.
Sarasota, FL
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
FL
GoransonBain, PLLC
Dallas, TX
TX
Atty. Theresa L. Roetter of Annen Roetter, LLC
Madison, WI
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
WI
Michael S. Goldstein, Esq., LCSW
Rye Brook, NY
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International
FL, NJ, NY
DeSmidt Rabuse PLLC
Jody Ollyver DeSmidt
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
MN, WI
Family Formation
Megan Cohen
Lafayette, CA
U.S. Newborn
CA
Lisa L. Collins, Esq.
Nashville, TN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
TN
McCarthy Weston, pllc
Flagstaff, AZ
AK, AZ, MO, NE
Adoptions First, LLP
David Ellis
LOS ANGELES, CA
U.S. Newborn
CA
Messerli Kramer
Gary A. Debele
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
MN, WI
Solberg & Bullock, LLC
Ellyn J. Bullock
Champaign, IL
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
IL
Adoption Law Center of Middle TN, PLLC
Jenny Hall
Nashville, TN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
TN
Grady, Hayes & Neary, LLC
Stephen Hayes
Waukesha, WI
WI
Kirton McConkie
Salt Lake City, UT
UT
Jenny L. Womack, P.C.
Dallas, TX
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
TX
Gregory A. Franklin, Esq.
Gregory A. Franklin
Rochester, NY
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
NY
Law Office of Jennifer R. Cochran-Green
Austin, TX
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
TX
Law Offices of Jeanne T. Tate, P.A.
Danelle D. Barksdale
Tampa, FL
FL
Lyford Law
C.J. Lyford
Lafayette Hill, PA
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
PA
Mills Meyers Swartling P.S.
Seattle, WA
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
WA
Horn Law Group, LLC
Margaret Moriarty
Toms River, NJ
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
NJ

See all adoption attorneys >


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