What is adoption? Adoption is the legal process of taking on the responsibilities as parent of a child that is not one’s own biologically. An adopting parent has parental rights, the same as a biological parent. An adopted child has rights of inheritance, the same as a biological child.
Relative vs Non Relative adoptions- “Relative” means grandparents or any degree of great-grandparents, aunts or uncles, or any degree of great-aunts or great-uncles, or stepparent, or cousins of the first degree or any siblings of the whole or half-degree or any spouse of the same;
Who may not adopt?
One person of a married couple can not adopt without the other spouse adopting. Unmarried people may not adopt the same child. A single parent (usually the mother) may want the rights of the other parent terminated to allow an adoption by a relative. This is not allowed, and her parental rights must be terminated as well, before an adoption may take place.
Who’s Parental Rights Must be Terminated?
A man who has been judicially declared to be the father of a child.
A putative biological father (a man whose legal relationship to a child has not been established but who is alleged to be or claims to be the biological father of a child).
How are parental rights terminated?
Voluntary- A parent may voluntarily surrender their parental rights to allow an adoption to take place. The surrender must be approved by a court. The ability to revoke a surrender is very limited. Therefore, anyone considering a surrender of their parental rights should not do so without consulting an attorney.
Involuntary- Termination of parental rights is like the “death penalty” of parental rights. It has the effect of forever severing the parent-child relationship. Because the right to parent is a fundamental right under the law, terminations are judicially determined under due process. Because it is revocable only under very limited circumstances, being represented by a competent attorney is essential if your parental rights are in jeopardy of termination.