Family law logo

Adoption presents an option for prospective adoptive parents to expand families and fulfil life-long dreams of raising a child or children.

According to a statistical report, there were 264 adoptions in Australia in 2020-21. Among these, 42 were intercountry adoptions, and 222 were Australian child adoptions.

mom dad and new born baby

However, adoption is mostly a long and arduous process, and going at it alone will likely delay the process or hurt your chances of closing the adoption altogether. Moreover, the process is never identical, even for subsequent adoptive parents. 

Adoption is a legal process, so having an adoption lawyer guide you through it is prudent.  

Below are tips to help you select the ideal adoption lawyer. 

1. Ensure the Solicitor Has a Practicing Certificate Issued in Your State 

Adoption is a branch of family law alongside other family-related litigation processes like divorce, legal separation, and child custody. However, Australia is a federation of states and territories, each with an autonomous constitution and laws. 

Adoption in Australia is the responsibility of individual states and territories. Moreover, each jurisdiction has its individual set of adoption laws. Therefore, if you want to finalise an adoption in any part of the State Of New South Wales, e.g., Newcastle, you need a solicitor specializing in family law Newcastle. 

According to one guide on practising law in Australia, an Australian state or territory’s Supreme court must grant admittance to any individual seeking to practice law. The individual must receive a practising certificate from the specific jurisdiction’s local legal professional body.

Given that adoption laws vary across different jurisdictions, finding an adoption solicitor with a practising certificate issued in your jurisdiction ensures they are familiar with the local adoption laws. Familiarity with local adoption laws matters because you depend on your lawyer to help you meet prerequisite adoption requirements, complete an adoption expression form, and prepare relevant paperwork.

Moreover, they offer your counsel throughout your adoption journey and help you navigate the complexities of the adoption system easily. Also, given how much you will rely on your adoption lawyer, proximity and accessibility is necessary, so consider hiring an adoption lawyer within the jurisdiction you intend to finalize the adoption.

2. Ask Questions to Vet the Prospective Adoption Lawyer’s Experience  

Experience is a crucial vetting yardstick when deciding whether to onboard an adoption lawyer to handle your case. Although specifics vary across jurisdictions, you must consume and internalize provided fact sheets on the state of adoption in Australia, especially the challenges.  

Second, you must go through the relevant channels to express your interest in an adoption program. The relevant authorities shall send you an assessment notice if your application is successful, and one government report shows that an assessment can take 3-4 months. There are more hoops after assessment, meaning the adoption process may span several years. 

Anything can change during this waiting period. Therefore, an adoption lawyer with the experience to anticipate such changes and offer sound counsel is a worthwhile asset. So, ask the prospective adoption lawyers questions to determine their capacity to handle different adoption scenarios.  

For starters, Australia legalises different adoption types, local, intercountry, stepparent, single-parent, and same-sex parent adoptions. Also, adopting differently-abled children, those with high medical needs, and those with complex family and social backgrounds requires in-depth knowledge.   

Therefore, ensure that the adoption lawyer has ample experience closing adoptions in the adoption route you intend to pursue.  Vet them on the challenges to expect during the adoption process and how they helped previous prospective adoptive parents navigate such challenges and complete the process successfully.

Lastly, given how long adoption takes, unprecedented changes in your personal life as an adoptive parent, like loss of income, separation, or divorce, may occur before you close the adoption. Consult the prospective lawyer on whether they have handled similar adoption complications before and how they navigated the emerging issues.  

A wooden gavel.

3. Consider the Costs and Fees  

Adoption is expensive, and although specifics vary across different states and territories, you can expect the following costs.   

  • Legal fees  
  • Departmental fees  
  • Assessment fees  
  • Facilitation fees for the organizations (e.g., NGOs) facilitating the process 

Moreover, different adoption types have distinct costs, with intercountry adoptions being the most expensive, costing thousands of dollars. Therefore, ask your law firm whether they charge an hourly fee or retainer for their services. For an hourly rate, ensure they expound on what constitutes an hour of work. Also, inquire whether they require full payment upfront, have payment plans, and acceptable payment options. 

4. Vet Multiple Adoption Lawyer Before Selecting One 

Although the first adoption or family law solicitor you interview may tick the boxes in your checklist, expanding your search is prudent.  

Compatibility is key, given how long and personal the adoption process is. Therefore, ensure you conduct thorough research to identify an experienced and qualified adoption lawyer who also makes you feel comfortable.

5. Consider Referrals and Reviews 

Consider seeking family law and adoption lawyer recommendations from other couples who have successfully undergone the process. Besides in-person recommendations, consider reading a prospective lawyer’s online reviews. Recommendations and reviews open your eyes to angles you may have omitted during your vetting process. 


A qualified, experienced, and compatible adoption lawyer improves your chances of closing within the shortest time possible. Therefore, consider the tips above to select the best lawyer for your adoption journey. If in New South Wales, seek insights from family law firm NLS Family Lawyers to help navigate this complex process.  

1 thought on “5 Tips To Choose The Right Adoption Lawyer 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *