There are multiple types of adoptions and the process can vary between the different types. However, the basic adoption court process always starts with a family wanting to adopt a specific child and then filing paperwork with the St. Louis County or St. Louis City Circuit Court. The initial paperwork includes a Petition for Adoption, as well as an Affidavit of Expenses for costs incurred to go through the adoption, and some other basic filing documents. The case is then processed and the Judge is assigned to the case.
If the case involves transfer of custody then the first hearing will be scheduled and a Guardian ad Litem will be appointed. If the case just needs a finalization hearing, then it is scheduled and a Guardian ad Litem is appointed. When the hearing day arrives, the parties appear in Court and testify briefly about the facts of the case. The Judge then makes a final decision on whether to grant or deny the adoption.
How Long Does an Adoption Take in St. Louis County?
The length of an adoption also depends on the type of case. A stepparent adoption usually involves a child that has already been in the custody of the parents for an extended period of time, so the case is usually set for a final hearing about 90-120 days down the road. For other types of adoptions, a transfer of custody hearing is set within the first few months after filing, and then a finalization hearing is set for 6 months following the transfer of custody order.