What to Ask Before Hiring an Adoption Attorney

Questions to ask an adoption attorney, general guidelines on standards — plus a free downloadable worksheet!

An adoption attorney, being asked questions to ask an adoption attorney

Financial Matters of Hiring an Adoption Attorney

  • What is the average cost of the adoptions you have handled?
  • How do you bill? Is your fee an hourly rate, or do you charge a flat fee? (Keep in mind that ethical, experienced adoption attorneys may have a higher hourly rate but charge less overall because they spend less time than a less-experienced adoption attorney would.)
  • Do you require a retainer fee in advance? If so, how much? What happens to my retainer fee if the birth mother changes her mind?

Qualifications of the Adoption Attorney

  • What is your experience, knowledge, competence? How long have you worked in adoption?
  • How many non-relative adoptions have you completed? How many this year? (Ten to 20 a year and several years of experience being an adoption attorney are desirable.) What percentage of your total practice is devoted to adoption? (Fifty to 100 percent suggests adoption expertise.)
  • What services do you provide? Will you actively assist me in finding an adoption situation as well as handle the necessary legal work? Attorneys in some states cannot match you to a birth mother (a practice that is allowed in many states). Make sure that you and the birth parents are represented by different adoption attorneys.

Working Relationships

  • What is your general philosophy about adoption? Why did you get involved in adoption?
  • Do you handle open adoptions, confidential adoptions or both? Do you have strong feelings about openness?
  • Will your office keep me up-to-date and involved?
  • Do you see counseling for birth parents as helpful? Why or why not?
  • Will you accept collect calls from birth parents? Do you have a toll-free number?
  • When you are away from the office, is another knowledgeable adoption attorney available?

Other Things to Think About When Considering an Adoption Attorney

  • Does the lawyer answer your questions to your satisfaction?
  • Does the lawyer return your phone calls promptly?
  • Is the lawyer sensitive to your feelings?
  • Is the lawyer well informed about adoption law?
  • Is the lawyer well organized?
  • Does the lawyer pressure you or make you feel uncomfortable with the decision-making process?
  • Does the lawyer openly discuss the financial and emotional risks involved?
  • Are the lawyer and support staff pleasant people who help you feel at ease and who will assist the birth parents graciously?

Search for attorneys in Building Your Family’s Adoption Attorney Directory

Download Building Your Family’s Adoption Attorney Worksheet, a free worksheet to fill out for each adoption attorney you’re considering.

 

Adapted from materials by Amy Silberberg and Diane Michelsen.



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Adoption Attorneys

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

See all adoption attorneys >

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