AdoptMatch | Separate Representation Laws by State

Separate Representation Laws by State


AdoptMatch believes that every expectant mom who is making an adoption plan should have separate legal representation. That means she should have her own attorney – someone other than the adoptive parents’ attorney – who will answer her questions, advocate for her and make sure she understands her rights and responsibilities at every step of the adoption. After all, the expectant mother is the one who is giving up her legal rights. Some states require every expectant mother to be provided an attorney paid for by the adoptive parents, other states require that an expectant mother be offered her own attorney, but most states are silent on the issue.

Regardless of state laws, we know from experience that adoption works best when both the adoptive parents and the expectant mom have their own separate legal representation. For your reference, we’ve compiled a summary of state laws on separate legal representation below:

States that require Separate Legal Representation:

  1. Kentucky
  2. Louisiana
  3. New Hampshire
  4. New Mexico
  5. New York
  6. Ohio


States that are required to offer Separate Legal Representation:

  1. California
  2. Nebraska
  3. Tennessee


Remember, state laws change frequently so be sure to consult with an adoption professional, preferably your own lawyer, about your state’s current law on separate legal representation for expectant mothers. If your state of residence is not listed above, follow this link to find out where to contact your representatives and make them aware of this important issue.

If you are considering adoption, or are already in the process of making an adoption plan for your unborn baby, click here to find an ethical adoption attorney near you who is experienced in representing expectant mothers just like you (Look for the orange expectant mom icon).


Want to know more about AdoptMatch’s mission to make adoption ethical and compassionate? Read more and watch our videos here.