Will a Criminal Record Keep Me from Adopting a Child?

Author: MatadorAdmin Posted on: . Filed in: Uncategorized.

Bloomington, IL Family Lawyer

Adopting a child is one of the most significant events that a family can experience. The adoption process may be exciting, frustrating, expensive, overwhelming and deeply gratifying in turns. As a result, it is generally important to connect with an experienced adoption attorney as early in the process as possible. Although working with a lawyer will not “solve” the challenging nature of the adoption process, doing so will help to mitigate many of the legal and practical stresses associated with this endeavor.

One of the major benefits of working with an attorney experienced in adoption matters is having a resource readily available whenever you have questions or concerns. Lawyers who regularly provide support to parents navigating the adoption process are well placed to advise you when you are unsure about virtually any aspect of your legal adoption journey. For example, you may have questions about whether you are legally allowed to adopt a child at all. Perhaps you wish to adopt a step-child and are wondering whether his or her biological parent may contest the adoption. Or perhaps you are concerned that your criminal record may keep you from adopting. Whatever your questions and concerns may be, an experienced family law attorney can help you sort out both answers and a plan of action moving forward.

The Best Interests of the Child

When determining custody interests for a child, courts are generally bound to honor the “best interests of the child” standard. As a result, a prospective parent’s criminal history may or may not factor into a court’s determination process when considering adoption. If you have a particularly violent criminal history, have repeated drug-related convictions and have yet to seek treatment, have previously been convicted of abusing children or have otherwise exhibited behaviors likely to be interpreted as sincerely dangerous, you may not be allowed to adopt. But if your criminal history does not raise any “red flags” that may render you a potentially unfit parent, your past may not hold you back from bringing a child into your family.

Every situation is unique, which is why it is generally helpful to consult an attorney about the details of your specific circumstances. Understanding the context of your criminal history will allow an attorney to give you accurate guidance. For example, if you were just released from prison and have yet to secure employment, a judge may view this situation unfavorably. Conversely, if your criminal behavior is years in the past and you have built a grounded, healthy life for yourself, your transformation may work in your favor.

Adoption Assistance Is Available

If you have questions about the adoption process, please consider speaking with an experienced Bloomington, IL family lawyer from Pioletti & Pioletti. Because every family’s situation is unique, it is generally advisable to seek out legal guidance before becoming either overly pessimistic or optimistic about any single course of action. Once a lawyer learns about the specific details involved in your family’s situation, he or she will be better able to advise you of your legal options. It is important to remember that consulting with an attorney does not result in any obligation to take legal action. All speaking with an attorney will do for sure is help to make your decision-making increasingly informed.