Family and Adoptions
We help clients with all aspects of adoption, including agency adoptions, relative, and step-parent adoptions, and international adoptions from the United States, Philippines and other parts of the world.
Agency and International Adoptions
Adoption is an important and exciting step toward completing a family for the adoptive parents. Agency and international adoptions can also often be complex legal matters. At Goodwin & Mark LLP, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients and facilitating adoptions in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
There are five licensed adoption agencies in BC and our lawyers work with them on a regular basis. We are familiar with the agencies’ processes, paperwork requirements and all legal matters associated with adopting through an agency. The adoption agencies facilitate private, non-family domestic adoptions within BC and throughout Canada, as well as international adoptions. Whether you are interested in adopting an infant or an older child, our law firm is qualified to represent you.
Adopting a Child from the U.S. or Overseas
If you are seeking to adopt a child from a certain country, we can assist you in identifying the appropriate agency. Our lawyers have experience handling adoptions out of the U.S., the Philippines and many other countries. Hiring an experienced lawyer is critical to protect your rights throughout the process, and to help move the adoption along in an efficient manner.
Relative and Step-parent Adoptions
When a relative or step-parent wishes to adopt a child in British Columbia, a specific legal process must be followed. These adoptions do not usually have to go through an agency and are typically handled by the adopting parent’s lawyer. At Goodwin & Mark LLP, we have extensive experience representing step-parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and other relatives seeking to adopt a child. Our lawyers also regularly assist clients in agency adoptions, including international adoptions.
Adoption Requirements in BC
According to the British Columbia Adoption Act, a prospective adoptive parent must be a resident of BC. Additionally, the adoptive parent and child must have lived together as members of a family unit for at least six months before the adoption application can be made to the court.
As you move through the process, our lawyers are available to answer your questions and efficiently address any unforeseen issues. For example, if a child’s absent biological parent refuses to give up parental rights, we can help you apply to the court to dispense with the parent’s consent to the adoption. In BC, the best interest of the child is always taken into consideration.
At Goodwin & Mark LLP, we also facilitate adult adoptions (ie. of grown children), usually by step-parents. While these are less common, there are a variety of reasons why an adult may wish to be adopted. It is important to consult with an experienced adoption law lawyer as there are eligibility restrictions for adult adoptions.
Family law matters can be challenging for everyone involved. At Goodwin & Mark LLP, we guide clients through all areas of family law, including separations, divorce, child custody, child support and alimony/maintenance. Our lawyers are experienced negotiators and skilled litigators who are prepared to represent your interests both in and out of the courtroom.
When couples live together, be they legally married or not, it can often be a good idea for them to determine what happens to their respective assets in the event the relationship were to end in order to safeguard their respective assets. Cohabitation agreements are powerful tools that allow both parties to provide input regarding the terms of how financial matters can be dealt with in the event the relationship ends and avoid potential acrimony in the future.
Much of the work we conduct in the area of family law is in the preparation and drafting of separation agreements. Often, spouses seeking divorce can come to a mutual agreement regarding the division of family assets, child access and other issues. Separation agreements are powerful tools that allow both parties to provide input regarding the terms of the separation and avoid the financial and emotional costs of going to court.
Division of Family Assets
Division of family assets and spousal and child support are critical aspects in the drafting of separation agreements and the resolution of marital disputes. At Goodwin & Mark LLP, we have a great deal of experience representing the interests of clients with significant and valuable assets.