Adoption creates the legal relationship of parent and child between a child and an adult who is not the birth parent of the child. An adoption permanently ends the legal relationship between the biological parents and the child. An adoption normally takes place with the consent of the child’s birth parents. Most of the time a written consent must be signed in front of a judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court before the adoption may even be filed. At the time of the consent signing, the judge makes the adoptive parents the legal guardians of the child for the duration of the adoption process.
Both biological parents must sign the consent even if the biological parents were never married, unless:
- The parental rights of a parent have already been ended by a court, or,
- The child was born out of marriage and the father is unknown or cannot be found.
An adoption can take place without the consent of either biological parent ONLY if the court finds it in the best interest of the child, and that keeping the relationship between the biological parent and the child would be harmful.
If the biological parents are under age 18, a parent under the age of 18 may consent to the adoption of his or her child.
Consent to adopt be withdrawn ONLY if there is fraud or coercion, or if the adoption parent(s) agree.
Also keep in mind, that if the child to be adopted is 14 years old or older, he or she must consent to the adoption. UNLESS the court finds the adoption to be in the child’s best interests, then consent is not required.
Information Typically Required For An Adoption
- Full name, date of birth, and city or county & state of birth of child to be adopted.
- Child’s birth certificate.
- Full name, date of birth, and city or county & state of adopting father.
- Education, health, income and occupation of adopting father.
- Family relationship (if any) of adopting father to the child.
- Full name, date of birth, and city or county & state of adopting mother.
- Education, health, income and occupation of adopting mother.
- Family relationship (if any) of adopting mother to the child.
- Date & place of marriage of adopting father and adopting mother.
- Date child to be adopted was placed in the home with the adopting parents.
- Court order that granted custody of the child to the adopting parents.
- Proposed name of the child after adoption
The lawyers at Winslow & McCurry, PLLC can assist you with the adoption process from filing, to coordinating with the Department of Social Services, and obtaining the final Order of Adoption. Please call us at 804.423.1382 to set up your consultation today!