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Who Must Consent:
  • The parents and any alleged father.
  • The agency or department to which the child has been relinquished.
  • The legal guardian.

Consent of Adoptee:
A child 14 years or older must consent to the adoption.

When Parental Consent is Not Needed:
  • A parent's rights have been terminated in the child's best interest and due to failure to perform parental duties.
  • For an Indian child, a parent's rights may be terminated only pursuant to standards set forth in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f).
When Relinquishment Can Be Signed:
  • Parents' written consent and petition to relinquish may be filed before birth, but the hearing may not be held sooner than 48 hours after the birth.
  • If the child is an Indian child, the petition and consent shall not be signed until at least 10 days after birth.
How Relinquishment Must Be Signed:
  • Written consents may be executed out of court and mailed or delivered to the clerk of the court but are not valid until 48 hours after signing or the birth of the child and approved by a judge.
  • If the child is an Indian child, no consent shall be valid unless signed at least 10 days after the child's birth and recorded before a court of competent jurisdication pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 1913(a).
Time for Revocation:
  • Consent is revocable until court approves it.
  • Thereafter, consent is irrevocable, except that for 1 year, consent may be revoked for fraud, duress, or lack of mental competency.
  • For an Indian child, consent can be withdrawn for any reason before entry of final decree and for fraud or duress within 2 years.
• 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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