Having the right professionals guiding you through the adoption process can make all the difference when it comes to the experience you will have throughout your adoption journey. You know your attorney should be experienced and knowledgeable, but do you know what questions to ask to ensure they're a good fit for you? Below we cover some of the questions to ask any potential legal counsel in regard to adoption.
What do you do?
This may seem like a silly question, but different attorneys cover a different range of services, so it is important to know going into an adoption what your attorney's services include. While you will almost certainly need other professionals throughout your adoption, such as doctors and counselors, some attorneys have certain ones they prefer that you work with, some have recommendations, while others have you find your own.
What kind of experience do you have?
It is important to find an attorney that has experience with cases like yours, preferably with families similar to yours. It is also important that this experience be recent. Adoption laws, especially international adoption but also domestic, are constantly being changed and updated, so if you are considering an inter-state adoption and it's been three years since your attorney has done one, you may want to look elsewhere. Similarly, if your attorney has not worked with a single adopting parent or LGBT couple before, you may consider looking for other options, as it is important for your attorney to understand the unique challenges, both legal and personal, that your family might face.
Who will I be working with directly?
While some attorneys are your immediate point of contact, in most cases you will most often be more in contact with an associate or staff member at the law office. If you prefer to be in direct contact with the attorney, you may need to be a bit more picky with the office you use. Otherwise, it is important to get to know the person you will be interacting with the most. Ask what hours they are available and how they prefer to communicate, whether that be over the phone, via text, or through emails.
What are your costs?
Because budgeting is important, you will need to know how much your attorney charges as well as how they charge. Do they have a retainer fee? A flat fee? Do they charge by the hour? Is there a consultation fee? Do they take payment plans or require all costs up front? Your attorney should be able to provide you with an estimated budget and billing schedule for a set amount of time. Of course, there's no guessing how long an adoption will take, but you should have an idea of what your legal costs will be, barring any extenuating circumstances.