It’s normal to choose a service provider based on experience and qualifications; we see a cardiologist for any heart concerns, call up an experienced mechanic when the car makes a funny noise, and hand-pick a reputable stylist when getting a new hairdo.
But what about when you’re hoping to grow your family through adoption? Luckily, finding the right lawyer for your needs can be as easy as knowing what to look for.
LEGAL SPECIALTIES & WHAT THEY MEAN
Legal specialization can help attorneys hone their expertise in a specific area of the law while signaling the public that they have achieved additional credentials and have focused their practice. There are a number of legal specialties, from family law to bankruptcy. Typically, specializing in a specific area of law requires an attorney to receive specialized training, ongoing education, and a certain amount of experience before they can receive board certification.
This board certification can be a great indicator of an attorney’s experience within a certain practice area, but not all areas of the law have a corresponding legal specialty—and those looking for a board certified adoption attorney will quickly notice that this area isn’t covered.
WHY ISN’T THERE AN ADOPTION LAW SPECIALTY?
There is no adoption specialty in North Carolina because adoption law falls under the larger umbrella of family law, which encompasses a wide variety of domestic and familial matters. From marriage and divorce to cases of surrogacy or even child abuse, family law covers a diverse and large area of the law. While some attorneys do practice general family law, the majority focus their practice on just a few specific areas.
Thus, a board certified family law attorney could focus on anything from complex divorce to paternity fraud—or anything in between. Because of this, you need to take a few extra steps to find a qualified attorney for your adoption needs.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE CHOOSING AN EXPERIENCED, KNOWLEDGEABLE ADOPTION ATTORNEY? LOOK FOR THE AAAA FELLOWSHIP
Because there is no adoption specialty, you may need to look for other credentials, memberships, or experience to determine if an adoption attorney is qualified to meet your needs. The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in the field of adoption law.
To become a fellow of the AAAA, attorneys must have been licensed for five years, provided lead counsel in at least 50 adoption cases over the last two years, and must maintain the highest standard of ethics, professionalism, and competence. The AAAA includes a distinguished list of less than 350 attorneys.
CHRIS CRAIG IS THE ONLY AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ADOPTION ATTORNEYS FELLOW IN WNC
Chris Craig has been helping Asheville families grow for many years and is well-known locally for his professional, supportive, and knowledgeable practice. As an experienced family law attorney, adoptee, and father, Chris understands both the legal and emotional complexities of adoption law—and his hard-work, dedication, and expertise have been recognized by the AAAA.
If you are curious about your options or want to learn more about the adoption process, we encourage you to contact our firm today. We would love to help you.