If you want to adopt a baby, then there are quite a few legal hurdles involved, and it is wise to seek out the assistance of a family lawyer, such as one from Ivy Law Group PLLC, to help you with the adoption process. Before you contact a lawyer, there are a few things that you should know about adoption. Consent is one term you should be familiar with and how it relates to the legal rights of the baby's parents.
What Exactly Is Consent?
Consent is when a mother, father, or both parents decide to give up their parental rights and duties to a child. Consent also refers to the relinquishing of rights by a guardian, a court appointed guardian ad litem, a custodial guardian, or an agency that has custody of a child. In some cases, consent does need to be provided to the court. This happens if parental rights have been terminated in cases of abuse, incompetence, or neglect. Also, if a parent is unfit and unable to provide consent due to a mental illness, then the court will provide consent on the behalf of one or both parents.
When Is Consent Provided?
The most common situation where consent is provided to relinquish rights of a baby is when the birth mother is in the hospital after giving birth. In some states, like Alabama and Hawaii, a mother can relinquish parental rights before the child is born. However, this is not common throughout the majority of the United States. Most states have a waiting period before rights can be terminated and an adoption can take place. Waiting periods range from 12 to 120 hours. Two and three day waiting periods are most common. Only a few states, like South Dakota, require a full five day waiting period.
You may also need to wait for the mother to be released from the hospital before you can adopt a child. This is the case if you live in California.
How Does Consent Occur?
Consent can be provided by the birth mother in a variety of ways. In some cases, a court appearance that involves the mother and the adoptive parents will need to occur, and a judge will need to agree to or sign off on the relinquishing of parental rights. A petition may also need to be sent to the court. In this case, a court hearing may need to occur unless a judge requires additional information about the case.
In most states, legal paperwork and written statements are all that are required to provide consent for an adoption. A notary public is often required to witness and notarize paperwork, and this often occurs in the hospital, unless you live in a state that requires the mother to be discharged before parental rights can be relinquished.
The birth mother may or may not need to go through counseling before consent is provided. This is sometimes mandatory to make sure the mother understands what it means to relinquish rights. The birth mother also may need to be provided with an attorney, and this helps to ensure that the mother is not being coerced into consenting.
Legal council for both the adoption and birth parents is advised as well to make sure that illegalities have not occurred during the consent and adoption process. For example, most states allow adoptive parents to pay for medical, legal, and living expenses. However, money cannot be given to the birth mother for no reason. This may be seen as a coercion tactic, a bribe, or a situation where the mother is actively selling the baby for a profit. You should understand that any money you do provide the birth mother for expenses will likely not be reimbursed to you if the mother decides not to relinquish her parental rights. Many states see the expense payments as a gift that cannot be taken back.Share
9 August 2016
It can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself legally in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re liable to be disoriented or in shock, you may be injured, and you’re surely worried about your passenger or the other driver. At least, that’s how I felt. The thing is, the things you say and do in the immediate aftermath of an accident may affect a legal case later. Depending on who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state, you may want to sue the other driver for damages, or you may find yourself being sued. My blog is designed to give you tips for a car accident lawsuit, no matter which side you find yourself on.