Guardianships / Adoptions

The decision to adopt a child can be difficult and emotional. Once you make that decision, you want nothing more than to hold your child in your arms and take him or her home to be a permanent member of your family. The adoption process is complex, however, and failing to complete any one part of it according to specifications can hinder your chance to become an adoptive parent. The attorneys at our law firm can help.

At Fletcher Van Gilder LLP, Lindsay D. Solon, Anne Carney and Andrew Simmons have experience with all types of adoptions, including step-parent adoptions and grandparent adoptions. We understand the legal requirements to finalize the adoption process, and we are here to guide you through the process, ensuring that all the necessary steps are completed accurately and in a timely manner.

Why Choose Us? We Understand What Makes an Adoption Successful

Bringing families together through adoption gives us great joy, and we work hard to ensure its success.

  • Our attorneys and staff ensure that all adoption paperwork is accurate, filed correctly and submitted in a timely manner.
  • We handle all court procedures, including termination of parental rights and name changes, if necessary.
  • We file adoption notices and send them to the appropriate parties.
  • We are there to answer any questions throughout the entire adoption process.
  • Our firm also has experience representing clients in contested adoption issues. We will represent the interests of our clients as we work to resolve the dispute with as little impact to the child as possible.

Step-parent Adoption

When parents divorce, they often recognize their top priority is to protect the best interests of their child(ren). However, the potential for conflict is high during and after a divorce, so disputes over child custody and visitation frequently arise. At Fletcher Van Gilder LLP we understand that you are going through an emotionally challenging time. Our experienced attorneys will do their best to make you comfortable with this difficult process from the moment you first call. We encourage you to contact us to set up an appointment.

In order for us to effectively represent you, we will ask several questions when you come in to our office for your consultation including status and location of the child’s other parent, and the extent that parent is involved in the child’s life. This information will help us determine whether the adoption will be contested or uncontested.

The process may require a home study of the place the child will reside. There is an extra fee for this study, and there are other administrative fees included in the adoption process. These costs are in addition to the attorney’s fees you will pay but are required by the State to ensure the child’s well-being.

We are here to ensure that the addition to your family is smooth and successful. We will fill out any necessary paperwork and see that it is filed correctly. When the home study is scheduled, we will help you to feel comfortable and prepared. We will be there from the moment you walk in to our office, until the formal court hearing when your adoption is made official.

If you are considering adoption, and think the other biological parent might challenge the proceeding, it is especially important to have an attorney. Call our office at 260-425-9777, or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We are here to advise you of your rights and protect the interests of you and your child.

Guardianships for Vulnerable Adults and Children

If you have a family member who is no longer able to take care of himself or herself, you may need a guardian to protect their interests. If a child is orphaned, or if the child has unfit parents, a guardianship can give you authority to care for the child and handle his legal affairs. Whatever the situation may be, hire an attorney and law firm with the experience to effectively care for your legal needs.

Why Choose Us? Because We Care About Our Clients

If you choose our law firm, you will benefit from our calm experienced approach to these cases, while receiving quality legal representation. You will be assigned a lawyer and legal assistant who will handle all aspects of your case and who will be available to answer questions.

We believe this is especially important in guardianship cases. Becoming a legal guardian, or deciding to appoint someone else as a guardian, is not an easy decision. It can be even more difficult if the guardianship is contested. We will answer your questions and guide you through the process. We will make sure you fully understand what a guardianship means so you can feel confident in your decision.

In addition to helping clients become a guardian, we also serve as legal guardians for children and vulnerable adults. Sometimes adults do not have family members and need a third party to act as a guardian. In other cases, a third-party guardian for children can help avoid family conflict. You can be certain we will act with honesty, professionalism and integrity when serving as a legal guardian for those in need.

Guardianships / Adoptions Summary

Adoption may be one of life’s most rewarding experiences; but the adoption process itself may be overwhelming. Not only do you have to work through the emotional and financial issues of expanding your family, but you also have to maneuver through the legal process. We are prepared to guide you through the adoption process.

What is adoption?

Adoption is a process in which you assume all the parental and legal responsibility for a child. By doing so, you formally and permanently transfer all rights and responsibilities from the biological parents to yourself.

Are there different types of adoptions?

Children come into families in a number of different ways. A child can be matched with you through a private agency, such as Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social Services. Children can also be brought into your family in purely private situations in which you know or are introduced to a birth mother who is interested in placing a baby in your home. You may be a step mother or father interested in adopting your husband or wife’s child. Or, you may be a foster parent or family member with whom the State of Indiana has placed a child as a result of abuse or neglect by that child’s biological parent(s).

How much does it cost to adopt?

The attorney fee, and the required costs payable to third parties (for home study fees, placement fees, birth mother expenses and support), all vary greatly with the situation. In some cases, there may be assistance available through the State of Indiana for those families with whom children were placed for relative or foster care. We will work with you by arranging a payment plan for the attorney fee portion of the case. Costs to third parties must be paid in full as they arise.

What does my attorney do?

As your attorney, we prepare all the legal documents to file with the court, and obtain the necessary documents from the State of Indiana and other agencies. Depending on whether it is an agency placement or a private placement, we can prepare and obtain consents for adoption from the birth parents. We will also represent you at the final hearing to obtain your adoption decree.

Is adoption right for me?

This is a decision that only you can make. Adoption can impose a heavy financial burden in addition to the emotional burden of adding to your family. Some situations involve too much risk or uncertainty to be in your best interests, and sometimes birth mothers in private adoptions do not follow through with the process. We are prepared to help you consider each situation and help you make the best decision for your family.

Where do I start?

You can contact our office before or after you have been matched with a child. Or, if you have not been matched with a child, you may consider contacting an adoption agency to enroll in the process of being potentially matched with a child. If you have been matched with a child, you can set up an appointment with our office to initiate the legal steps to finalize the adoption.

Call Us for Legal Assistance in the Adoption Process

If you are going through the adoption process — step-parent, grandparent or third-party — call us to discuss your legal needs and schedule a meeting in our Fort Wayne office or a satellite location. Call 260-425-9777 to speak to an attorney, or send us an e-mail to schedule an initial consultation.

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