Rhode Island Adoptions
Our fee for adoption, if it is uncontested, which means that the parties are all aware and the bio parent(s) are able to be located, is currently $600 (as of August 2015). There is no filing fee with the court.
As for process, we typically have you and the adopting person come in and meet with us. We will explain the process and make sure the adopting parent understands what he or she is legally getting into. We usually give you homework at the meeting, to fill out and bring back to us. You pay the $600 when you bring/mail the homework back. You will also need a certified copy of the birth certificate to file with the court, as well as a copy of your marriage certificate. (Petitioners need a copy of the death certificate when applicable, as well.)
We draft the forms from your homework, and you’ll need to come back and sign before we file those with the court. If the bio parent is consenting, the petition needs to be signed by him or her. Once signed, you and your spouse signs, we file. If the bio parent doesn’t consent in writing by signing the petition, we then get paperwork from the court setting a date for termination of parental rights. The bio parent will need to be served with the Petition to Terminate Parental Rights. If the bio parent is local and cooperates with the constable, the fee is usually $55-65 (you pay that in addition to the $600.) If he/she lives out of state, we will need to determine the process for that state and the fees, which range from $75-$150, in our experience. The termination is granted without a hearing if he/she doesn’t show up, or after a hearing if he/she does contest it. (We will talk more at our meeting about reasons the bio parent can contest and the likelihood of your success. If it is contested, it is no longer a flat fee situation, so we will need to discuss a fee schedule going forward.) Once the petition to terminate is granted, you wait 20 days, and have a final hearing for the adoption to become official. The bio parent does not attend the final hearing, but the child does.
If the bio parent signs the petition, he/she will still need to be served and appear at the hearing to acknowledge his/her signature on the court record. Then the adoption is granted that day, or in 20 days, depending on the Judge. (We will know in advance of the judge’s plan once we get to this point so you know whether to have the child present. This is a new requirement, so we are still getting it down.)
If you do not know the bio parent’s location or identity, call and we can talk about what needs to happen. This would not be a “flat fee” situation, but the circumstances determine the cost so it is difficult to generalize.
While we are getting him served, the clerk will request for a DCYF investigation into you and your husband. They have 8 weeks to conduct their investigation, which includes a home study, and usually they wait until close to the eighth week to do it. You will need anyone in your household over 18 to get their fingerprint criminal background checks done at a police station of Providence office. You and your husband will also complete questionnaires, need physicals within the last year, and the adopting parent needs 3 letters of recommendation (only one of which can be from an immediate family member.)
If you are thinking about a Rhode Island adoption call us today at 401-841-5700.