Parental consent is a crucial hurdle for parents wishing to adopt. It refers to the agreement between the adoptive and biological parents, agency or person acting in place of the parent. Giving consent means relinquishing a child for adoption and release.
The requirements of consent
There are rules regarding consent:
- It cannot happen before 72 hours after childbirth.
- It must be given by both biological parents if married and the mother and father out of wedlock (if his paternity is legally acknowledged).
- If the parent is a minor, they can consent, but a guardian is appointed.
- Consent must also come from the child if they are 12 or older.
The adoption consent must often be in writing and witnessed, notarized, or executed before a judge or designated official.
There are exceptions
Adoption can involve a complicated situation where meeting the above guidelines may not be possible. While the courts want to protect the biological parents’ rights, they are also sensitive to the needs of a child to be placed and the parents’ willingness to adopt. With all this in mind, there are circumstances where the courts will waive some requirements. Some of the reasons include:
- The parent abandoned the child for 90 days or longer.
- The parent continually refuses to provide support and care for at least six months.
- The parent allowed the child to be sexually abused or exploited.
- The parent inflicted severe physical or mental injury.
- The father did not establish parental rights.
Legal adoption available to many
The state will review valid adoption applications, but many potential parents find it helpful to work with people familiar with the system. These professionals can guide families through the process and help them surmount hurdles like consent.