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Adopting Parents' Attorney
Attorneys have traditionally presided over independent adoption and handled the court aspects of agency adoptions as well. Adoption law can be complicated and the suffering resulting from failure to know and follow the law can be profound.

Unlike adoption agencies, attorneys may have a duty of full disclosure of relevant facts to all the parties. It is critical to a safe adoption for counsel to frankly discuss all the facts with birth parents and adopting parents alike.

Multiple Representation
The law of California allows a single attorney to represent both the adopting and birth parents at the same time, as long as all parties agree in writing. However, if a disagreement arises between the parties, the single attorney must withdraw from the case totally. A birth mother has a right to her own lawyer. If she chooses separate representation, the adopting parents are expected to pay that fee.

There is an advantage to separate counsel, even though the costs are greater: if a conflict arises, an adopting couple’s independent attorney can continue to represent them.

However, there is also a disadvantage: a lawyer representing all the parties has a duty of full disclosure of all relevant facts, including danger signals from a birth parent, or evidence of unfitness in an adopting couple. With separate lawyers, there is no such duty: for example, a birth mother's separate lawyer may be prohibited from disclosing alarming birth parent conduct to the adopting couple or their lawyer.

I represent all the parties in most of my cases. There are very, very few in which a disagreement arises.

 

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The Adoption Law Center of Beverly Hills (800) 345-6789
9454 Wilshire Blvd  Beverly Hills, CA 90212 dkleavitt@aol.com