Adoption (which is hand in hand with termination of parental rights) is unique in that it can completely sever forever and all time a natural (or prior adoptive parent) parents (constitutional and fundamental) right to raise his or her own child with limits on a state’s right to interfere. The way adoption does this in legal terms is by consent of every person with a legal interest in the adoptive child’s right.
In many cases, written consent under the Adoption Act1 may be waived. However, unless given in writing or found unnecessary by an adoption court under the statutory provisions, an adoption may be set aside. The need for consent may become much more important and developed as a number of third-parties, from neighbors and friends to grandparents are raising other’s children in the United States.
By way of example and perhaps illustrative of the care a potential adoptive parent, lawyer, and court face, is de facto custodians. De facto custodians occur by passage of time by giving the care, comfort and support for an aggregate of six months for children under three or a year for children over three. This occurs without any judicial determination of this status.
With such parties, to at least to the extent know to the adoptive parent(s), the Indiana Supreme Court has recently ruled their consent must be given to the adoption.2 Without such consent, the adoption is subject to being voided and the process begun anew. Therefore, it is important that all caregivers be given actual notice and right to be heard in an adoption.
This is the way to ensure an adoption and lack of future challenge; this is consistent with the policy of the adoption to make sure a child’s best interests are met. In the event you are considering and adoption or interested in the subject, this should be carefully considered.
We hope you find this blog post useful to your interest in the subject. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who practice throughout the State.