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Who Must Consent:
In an independent adoption:
  • By the living parents, unless found unnecessary.
  • A legal guardian.
  • The court having jurisdiction.
In agency adoptions:
  • An authorized representative of the agency may consent.
Consent of Adoptee:
A child 14 years or older, if of sound intellect, must consent to the adoption.

When Parental Consent is Not Needed:
The father:
  • Has neglected or abandoned the child.
  • Has failed to contact or support the child.
  • Is unfit or incapable of consent.
  • Failed to support mother during pregnancy.
  • Abandoned the mother.
  • Raped the mother.
  • Failed to assume parental duties for 2 years.
As far as is applicable, the provisions also apply to the mother.

When Relinquishment Can Be Signed:
  • Mother may not give consent until 12 hours after child's birth and must be executed not more than 6 months before an adoption petition is filed.
  • Presumably, a father can consent at any time.
How Relinquishment Must Be Signed:
  • Consent shall be in writing and acknowledged before a judge or authorized officer.
  • A minor parent may consent, but must be provided with counsel prior to execution, and counsel must be present when consent is signed.
Time for Revocation:
A consent is final when executed unless consenting party, prior to final decree of adoption, proves by clear and convincing evidence that consent was not freely and clearly given.

• Glossary of Terms
• Legal Considerations in Adoption
• Parental Rights
• Putative Father Registries: What They Are and How To Use Them
• Resources for Expectant/Placing Parents

Relinquishment Summaries by State: Index

Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. Reprinted with permission.

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