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Consent and Notice

Consent to an adoption refers to the agreement by a parent or agency to give up a child for adoption and release all rights and duties to that child. Notice refers to who must be told about the adoption.

 

In an Agency Adoption

In an agency adoption, the foster care agency or the private adoption agency consents to the adoption of the child in its care and guardianship.

If the child is 14 years old or older, the child must also consent to the adoption.

 

In a Private Placement Adoption

In a private placement adoption, private individuals must give their consent before a child can be adopted. Consent can be given in front of a judge (a judicial consent) or not in front of a judge (an extra-judicial consent).

The consent to an adoption can be given in writing in court in front of a judge. In this case, it's immediately irrevocable. This means that the parent cannot change their mind and have their child returned.

If the consent is given not in front of a judge, such as in a hospital, the consent must be in a writing that is signed and notarized. The parent has 45 days to change their mind and take back the consent. However, even if consent is withdrawn during those 45 days, it does not mean that the child will be returned to the birth parents. If the adoptive parents oppose the withdrawal of consent, then a hearing will be required. During the hearing, a judge will determine if the consent was properly taken back in time and decide custody of the child based on what would be in the best interest of the child.

Who has to give consent before a child can be adopted:

If the birth parents are married, then both parents must consent to the adoption.

If the birth parents are not married, then the mother must consent to the adoption. If the father has had a lot of contact with the child, then his agreement is also required.

If the father's identity is not known, then the father's agreement may not be required.

If the father's identity is known but the father hasn't had much contact with the child, then his agreement may not be required but the Judge might require that he be told of the adoption.

In cases where a parent's consent is required but it's claimed that the parent abandoned the child or hasn't kept in contact with the child, then legal notice must be given to that parents and the court will hold a hearing. During the hearing, the court will determine if there's proof to show that the child has been abandoned and the parent's consent is not required.

If the child is 14 years old or older, the child must also consent to the adoption.

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