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Can I Adopt With an Arrest or Conviction?

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. | Last updated on

You're considering adoption but have an arrest or conviction in your past. Are you automatically disqualified? Adoption is a complicated process and answering that question can be complex and dependent on a variety of factors.

An arrest or conviction may not disqualify you but it might. The nature of the crime alleged, when it happened, how it was resolved, and how forthcoming you are, will all make a big difference in a decision. Let's consider those factors and how a criminal record may affect adoption.

Be Open

When you seek to adopt, you do have to expose yourself to a lot of external scrutiny to ensure that you will not endanger a child and can create an environment in which a kid will thrive. That means you will have to be open with an agency or any other authorities - getting ahead of an arrest or conviction is the best bet. Your criminal history will be checked, so do speak up about matters in your past that could be a concern.

Keep in mind that the type of crime you are associated with and when it happened will influence how it will be considered. If you trespassed when you were a teenager, you can easily explain that one away. But of course crimes against children, violent offenses of a certain kind and crimes of moral turpitude, such as fraud, could disqualify an adoptive parent.  

Everything depends on the circumstances, your charge and resolution, the details behind your alleged crime, and how that may impact the best interests of the child. Depending on the adoption too, you may have different issues.

Adoptions can involve international law, federal law, state law, and the laws of another land. In some cases you may face bars based on a particular jurisdiction's standards. Even a local adoption involves a lot of administration, paperwork, and understanding of the law. Hiring an adoption lawyer is a good idea regardless of whether you have a past that will need extra explaining.  

Adopting a kid is not easy and that is for a reason. Authorities must ensure that children are not placed in homes where they are in danger. Of course not everyone who has ever been arrested or convicted of a crime is dangerous, so hire a good lawyer to help you explain this to those that will be reviewing your paperwork.  

Consult With Counsel

If you are considering adoption, get help. Adopting can be a difficult and emotional process. Hire an expert to guide you through it. 

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