Adoption Law Summary
A Summary of Adoption Law
Consent: If the child is not yet born the birth mother must go before the judge to give her consent. All other pre-birth consents can be submitted before a Notary Public. The net effect of this means the birth father does not have to go before the judge to give his consent to the adoption. He can also deny that he is the father yet the same time give his consent to the adoption. This is called a denial and consent. Here he is saying, I’m not the father but, I will consent to the adoption anyway. It can be an easy way to deal with a reluctant father. Post birth consent must be in writing and signed and notarized.
Fees and Cost:. All fees and expenses must be approved by the court prior to payment or be placed in escrow. The court shall approve all reasonable fees and expenses unless they are determined to be unreasonable based upon specific findings of fact. A birth parent must sign an affidavit that he or she has received NO money or other thing of value for giving up a child for adoption.
Withdrawal of Consent:. Withdrawal of consent follows a somewhat stepped procedure, meaning that the further from the birth of the child the withdrawal is received by the court the harder it is to overturn the adoption process.
First Step:. The consent to adoption can be withdrawn within five days of signing or of the birth which ever comes last. Withdrawal must either be delivered to the court or postmarked within the five day period.
Second Step:. The consent may be withdrawn within 14 days after signing or the birth of the child which ever comes last and if the court finds the withdrawal is reasonable under the circumstances and it is in the child’s best interest.
Third Step:. The consent may be withdrawn at any time until the final decree upon a showing that it was obtained through fraud, duress, mistake or undue influence.
Fourth Step:. After one year from the date of the final decree, a consent or relinquishment may not be challenged on any ground except when the adoptee was kidnapped.
Adoption Procedure and Timeline
The petition for adoption should be filed within 30 days after the child is placed. It should be signed and verified by each adoptive parent. After placement with the adoptive parents and filing the court enters an interlocutory order giving the adoptive parents custody. Custody includes the right and obligation to provide care, maintenance, support and medical treatment.
The hearing must occur within 90 days of filing if a preplacement investigation has occurred, if not, then within 120 days.
A final decree after it is entered, cannot be collaterally attacked, except in the case of fraud or kidnapping after entry of the final decree and all possible appeals.