I recently spoke at a continuing legal education seminar sponsored by the Missouri Bar on the subject of adoptions. Adoptions are yet another mechanism of establishing custody for children, even though many people do not think of adoptions as child custody cases. There were numerous issues discussed regarding adoptions given that the audience was lawyers. This particular seminar dealt with adoptions involving the Missouri Department of Social Services through Children’s Division, or another of its contracting agencies such as Every Child’s Hope or Great Circle.
One of topics of discussion involved proceeding with an adoption without having first terminated the parental rights of the biological parents. While this process is available under Missouri law, apparently not every county in Missouri makes a practice of allowing an adoption to proceed without having first obtained a judgment terminating the parents’ rights.
Chapter 453 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri specifies that “A decree of adoption for a minor child makes the child, also known as the ‘adoptee,’ the child of the petitioner(s) for all legal intents and purposes.” §453.080.3 RSMo. Consent of a parent is not required to an adoption when a parent has abandoned a child. Therefore, an adoption can proceed on grounds of abandonment even without a TPR Judgment or signed consents to the adoption.
The adoption itself is the termination of parental rights. But, the right circumstances must also exist to proceed with an adoption in this manner. Have the biological parents had any contact with the child? How long has the child gone without any contact from the parents? If the parents have had some contract, but the contact is inconsistent and infrequent, does the limited contact still meet the criteria for abandonment? Abandonment is based upon the factual circumstances that exist in each case.
At the adoption hearing, evidence will have to be presented in support of the abandonment. The caseworker can usually supply sufficient testimony for the court to find abandonment, but I also proffer evidence through my client’s testimony.
A Jefferson City man faced DUI charges following a field sobriety test. Charges against the defendant were dropped after Scott successfully maintained the client’s claims that the test results were inaccurate. While the client initially appeared to be in a difficult situation, Scott was able to push investigators to determine the sobriety test results as invalid, so the charges were dismissed.
A mother was seeking sole custody of her children following a divorce. The father refused to cooperate, leaving the client in a difficult situation as she felt as though her children didn’t have a voice. Scott recognized her need for an advocate and carefully listened to the children’s wishes, which conclusively helped the client achieve sole custody of her children and protected their best interests.
A client from Fulton was accused of drug possession as a result of a home search. While drug charges may potentially be filed as a Class C felony involving severe consequences, Scott was able to help the client receive a reduced sentence. Ultimately, the client faced significantly smaller penalties compared to the initial charges.
Scott assisted a defendant in a particularly challenging divorce case in which the other spouse was not cooperating. Scott was able to help the client avoid court through an aggressive legal approach to resolve all outstanding disagreements while maintaining the client’s long-term needs.
One client sought legal assistance after an altercation with another individual in Jefferson City. The client was arrested on assault charges despite allegedly not starting the fight. Since an arrest can lead to life-altering penalties such as being terminated from employment and serving jail time, Scott was able to build a solid legal defense in the client’s favor and argued in favor of the client’s innocence.
A grandparent sought visitation rights to his grandchild after the parent tried to block him. Scott takes grandparents’ rights very seriously, and so he devised a strategy to help the grandparent set a visitation schedule. Scott developed a strategy to show that the child’s best interests were fulfilled through the grandparent’s ability to visit the child, helping push the case towards a resolution in the client’s favor.
Scott assisted a client who was injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence. The defendant claimed that the opposing party using their phone at the time of the crash, and Scott emphasized this claim to show that the other driver was at fault for the client’s injuries. The case concluded with the client receiving the necessary compensation for medical bills following a long hospital stay due to injuries.
I have been working with Mr. Hamblin for almost one and a half years and consider him to be one of the finest Lawyers I have ever done business with. Mr. Hamblin’s understanding of Missouri law is to say the least encyclopedic. His areas of expertise are broad and far-reaching. While working with Mr. Hamblin I found that he has an innate gift for what he does. His availability, presence in the courtroom, and demeanor with prosecutors, plaintiffs, witnesses and defendants are unparalleled in Missouri’s capital. Jefferson City is the epicenter of all legislation in this great state of Missouri,…
Scott was efficient and knew his stuff. Very thorough and committed to our family. He had worked on two different cases for us and did an excellent job. No regrets!
I called Mr. Hamblin to represent my family member. When we went in to have a meeting, Mr. Hamblin was very honest said he felt that he could represent him and help with the matter that he had been charged with. I was so glad that I had contacted Mr. Hamblin on this matter, because he did just what he said that he would do. He did so in a timely and professional matter, and the expense was very minimal considering that this could have been a life-changing matter. I want to say a big Thank you Mr. Hamblin for…
Very upfront and honest about the potential outcomes of my case.
Scott Hamblin represented my son in a high-profile case. Scott was highly professional throughout the course of the proceedings, prompt and thorough in answering all of our questions and, most importantly, was very prepared when he represented my son in the courtroom, which resulted in a very favorable outcome. Our family cannot thank Scott enough for a job well done and 5 stars is really not enough. He truly did a phenomenal job. I would have no reservations in recommending Scott should you ever need a criminal defense attorney.
Mr. Hamblin succeeded in winning a child custody modification case for me that most lawyers I spoke with wouldn't even take on. Many told me that modifying a child custody agreement was nearly impossible. Due to the changes at my children's Father's house and the toll it was taking on their mental health, my children needed this modification and were begging for a change. Mr. Hamblin helped give my children a voice and get what they call "A Christmas Miracle" when we won full custody of them a few days before Christmas. I would recommend his counsel to anyone needing…
I am so grateful that I hired him, he gave me hope to overcome my fear and anxiety. Now my case was dismissed because of his hard work. Thank you so much Attorney Scott. May God bless you, and keep continuing to save people's lives!!!
There are no words to express how grateful I am for the opportunity to be represented by Mr. Hamblin. I have enjoyed working with him and his assistant, especially through some of the most challenging moments of my life. Selecting someone to handle your case can be a very difficult decision to make, but even from the moment I arrived at the office for my consultation, I knew I had found the right attorney. Thank you so much for a positive outcome, Mr. Hamblin!
I got stuck between a rock and a hard place in my situation as was in need of help. Scott was appointed to be via public defender for a federal case and I could not have wished for a better lawyer and overall individual. He would show up for me while I was incarcerated on the weekend when he had time and would also work around my work schedule to meet while I was not incarcerated. He extensively researched my case and talked to me like a human rather than another client. He's very kind and will tell you the…
Scott is a very compassionate but honest man. I have known Scott for 10+ years. I met him while fostering children with Cole County Children's Division. When he became the adoption lawyer for Cole County Children's Division in 2007 my husband and I were one of the first to use him to become adoptive parents to our then two-year-old foster son. Our son just turned 13 years old this year. In 2013, he represented my husband and me to get guardianship for our foster daughter. We are beyond blessed to have such a great guy like Scott to represent us.…
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