Adoption is an amazing opportunity to legally unite a child with a family. However, adoption can be a long process as there are many requirements under Indiana law before an adoption can be granted. Adoptions require extensive communication and transparency between all parties involved. Naturally, adoption is an area of Family Law that has many layers to it. One of those layers is the requirement of consent from the birth parents and the child themselves.
In Indiana, a child’s consent is required if they are 14 years or older. The consent of the birth parents gets a little more complicated. And although the process can be frustrating at times, the child’s best interest is paramount and Indiana laws concerning adoption reflect that key point.
The general baseline law is that consent is required from the biological parents if the child is under 18 years of age. The biological mother’s consent, if living, is absolutely required for a child who is under 18. A biological father’s consent may be required depending on the circumstances. Consent will be required from the biological father if they have either established paternity or if they’ve signed a paternity affidavit. Under Indiana law, establishing paternity is especially important if the biological mother and father are unmarried.
Once consent has been given by the biological parents, that consent may be irrevocable. This is the case upon signing, as long as the biological father signs before the birth and there is the appropriate statutorily prescribed language. Consent is also irrevocable if the signing occurs after the child’s birth and the 30-day window to file a petition to withdraw consent has passed.
There are many instances where consent of biological parent(s) are not required. The most common reason why consent to adoption may not required is abandonment of the child. Additionally, consent may not be required if a parent has failed to support or communicate with the child or the parent is unfit to parent the child. Again, these exceptions are set in place to protect the best interest of the child.
Adoption can be a tricky and time-consuming process. Ensuring that you have an attorney who is experienced in that legal field is very beneficial.
This McNeely Law LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.