CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – An Horry County woman says she couldn’t afford an attorney, so she turned to a website for legal documents for an adoption process.
Heather Thomas has been trying for month’s to have her husband listed legally as the father of her daughter, Gracie. Thomas paid $325 for adoption forms from stepparentadoptionforms.com, but she says the court called those documents “insufficient.”
“They assured me that it was a South Carolina attorney that prepared the papers,” explained Thomas.
She emailed the site to have specific portions of the documents corrected, then returned to the court house for a second time. Thomas says they accepted the petition for adoption, but the Guardian ad Litem assigned to her case disagreed.
“She said she really didn’t feel like the paperwork was complete or correct,” explains Thomas.
News13 spoke with the website’s Adoption Department Manager over the phone. He says they have provided paperwork for hundreds of adoptions in South Carolina with zero problems.
Attorney Russell Hall says filing for step parent adoption is a complicated process and it’s important that its done right.
“Sometimes it looks easy, but it’s a pretty big deal, and could come back to haunt you if you don’t do it correctly,” stated Hall.
Hall says he cant speak to the website’s credibility, but hiring an attorney is the safest route.
“Ultimately you’re getting a form, you’re not getting the advice of an attorney and that’s the part people don’t understand,” Hall explains.
Despite her paperwork being denied twice, Thomas says she’s not going to give up.
“We’re working really hard to make it happen,” she said.
The Better Business Bureau gives the adoption assistance website a D+ rating. A representative with stepparentadoptionforms.com told News13 during a phone interview that they’ve been in business for 22 years and do not scam people. The company representative claims Thomas’ refund is currently being processed.