What are My Legal Rights as a Birth Parent of an Adopted Child?

What are My Legal Rights as a Birth Parent of an Adopted Child?

| Feb 19, 2021 | California Divorce, Child Custody, Divorce, Divorce Mediation, Family Law, Spousal Support

During the adoption process, it’s important for both the adopted parents and the birth parents to receive all of the support and legal information they need along the way. 

Adoptions are a time of excitement and anticipation for potential new adoptive parents and family formations. However, the process can be quite different for birth parents, and it may sometimes feel like they’re overlooked. 

When dealing with adoption proceedings and assuming the legal rights of an adopted child, the birth parents have very important roles too.

The consent to adoption is outlined by state and not on a federal level for adoption. In California, the rights of both birth parents must be considered when the adoption process begins. More specifically, the consent and signatures of both birth parents are required. Also, if the child is over age 12, they must consent to their adoption. 

According to the Children’s Bureau, “state legislatures have developed a range of provisions designed to ensure protection for all involved individuals, including the following: 

Children (to prevent unnecessary and traumatic separations from their adult caregivers), birth parents (to prevent uninformed, hurried, or coerced decisions), and adoptive parents (to lessen anxiety about the legality of the adoption process).”

However, the consent of a noncustodial parent is not required if the parent for a period of 1 year willfully fails to communicate with the child or doesn’t pay for the care, support, and education of the child when they’re able to do so. 

The birth parent’s consent is also not required if:

  • They have been judiciary deprived of the custody and control of the child
  • They voluntarily surrendered the right to the custody and control of the child 
  • They deserted the child 
  • They relinquished the child for adoption to a licensed or authorized child placing agency

There’s also a time frame where the birth parents have a right to reverse the adoption, and it varies depending on the type of adoption.

For a direct placement adoption, once consent is given, the parents have 30 days to submit a signed revocation and request the return of the child or sign a waiver of the right to revoke consent.

However, in an agency adoption, the consent is final and may only be rescinded by mutual consent unless the birth parent has specified an adoptive parent and the placement has not been finalized. In that case, the birth parent has 30 days to rescind the agreement.

Terminating and establishing parental rights is a very complicated process.

In open-adoption cases, you can also form a post-adoption agreement allowing continued contact with certain birth relatives of the child. This communication can be an asset to the adopted child, especially if they’re part of another culture or are being adopted by extended family members.

Our attorneys are well versed in ALL of these complexities. We make sure that the law is followed so that birth parents receive the assistance and information they need to avoid any potential legal complications in the future. 

Call us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to go over your rights as a birth parent.

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