Adoption Laws By State

State by state Adoption laws relinquishment consent, revoke times, fathers rights, open agreementsConsent, Father Rights, Revocation and Open Adoption Agreements

Wondering about the adoption laws in your state? We all do. One of the things that must be fix in adoption is that there is a whole patchwork of state laws that affect the natural rights of parents to consent to adoption, when they can change their minds  and revoke consent and what right fathers have, plus any true “choice” in contact with your child post-adoption. This allows the adoption professionals to move both mothers and babies around to different states depending on their adoption laws.

To check for the state statute numbers, the Child Welfare Information Gateway has a very good search tool.  Double verify the particular state codes numbers on the state .gov website to make sure it is up to date.

How to Use the State Adoption Law Chart

Checking All States that Pertain to the Adoption

As adoption is generally considered a state by state issue, you must look up the laws in the state you are giving birth in to find the  consent time and the revoke time frame. Putative Fathers Rights laws tend to jump around a bit and should be looked at for the state the father lived in, the state the child was conceived in and the state the the child is born in. For open agreements and their legality and enforce-ability ( which doesn’t exist ) look at the state the adoption was finalized it, where the child will be living and also the state that the child was born in. They don’t make it easy!

When the Relinquishment Consent Can be Signed

The second column is the amount of time post birth that a mother can sign the relinquishment consent to adopt in each state. Many adoption agencies and professionals want a mother to sign away her parental rights as soon as possible as that allows them to confirm that the transaction will take place.  There are NO LAWS saying she must sign off as soon as possible as allowed by law. A consent to adoption can take place any time AFTER the state laws and proponents of ethical adoptions know that the longer a time frame a mother had, the better she will be about her decision.

  • Adoption Consent forms should NEVER be signed before birth.At that point the pregnancy is still not real and a mother cannot consent to  relinquish an idea or concept.
  • Consent to relinquish should NEVER be signed while the mother is still in the hospital. She is still recovering form the birth and is also frequently on pain medications.
  • It is ILLEGAL to force or coerce a mother to sign away the rights to her child by threatening to make her “pay back” medical bills or expenses, but these tactics DO happen every day in the USA. with very little ramification except that mothers lose their children to adoption.
  • No matter how much an agency or adoptive parents have support a mother; SHE HAS THE RIGHT TO CHANGE HER MIND and NOT agree to an Adoption.

Revoke Time Frame

The Revoke Time Frame represents the amount of time a parent who has already signed the consent form can go back to the agency and revoke their consent to adoption. Again, the adoption industry prefers states like Florida where once a mother consents to adoption, she has NO TIME to change her mind.  It’s really quite insane as you can go back to the store and return a store purchase or even return a car or cancel airline reservations or pull a bid for a house, but you can sign away your motherhood with no recourse.

Please not that even if a mother has the legal right to revoke consent and does during the allowed time frame, there is NO guaranteeing that she will get her baby back. many agencies have little explained clauses that say they “will determine IF a mother has adequate resources to care for her child”. Often with the consent  a mother gives the agency or lawyers or the prospective adoptive parents a power of attorney and legal guardianship. These can be used to keep possession of the baby. Then, there are often court battles in which the adoption industry knows how to play. They wait until the mother, who often has less ways to pay for the required legal support, gets worn down or broke and gives up. Also, in adoption, possession is 9/10ths of the law. If the refuse to hand over the baby, there is little to be done. The police do not like to get involved as they see these issues as child custody and refer back to the courts. My advise, revoke as soon as possible and the minute they start hemming and hawing, contact authorizes and declare a kidnapping. If the adoption is over state lines, call the FBI.

Father’s Rights

Natural fathers have an even harder time in Adoption that the mothers do. While many states have Putative Father’s Registries, the great majority of men have NO idea that they exist or that they should sign up on them to protect their rights to their children.

 

Please see the Father’s Rights Pages for more information pertaining just to fathers rights to child custody in adoption.

Open Adoption Agreements

While countless Adoption Agencies Websites say things like:

  • 100% of all birthmothers have the right to choose the amount of openness in the adoptive relationship.
  • You have the right to choose the amount of contact you want with the adoptive family as your baby grows up
  • In addition to choosing what family to place her child with, today’s birth mothers can also choose how much future contact they desire with the adoptive family and their child. Birth mothers can see the child grow up through pictures and letters; some birth mothers may even specify a fully open adoption, which includes the opportunity to visit the child.

Unfortunately, these statements are lies. While a birth mother might “choose” how much contact they want, once they sign the relinquishment consent, they lose all power to have that level of openness is continued. All legal power is transferred to the adoptive family and they can, and often do, whatever thy like which can mean closing the adoption.

This chart was created back in 2006, and I admit I haven’t had the time to check it all to make sure it is 100% accurate, but I wanted to make it available for use. If you happen to see an error, please not it in the comments or send me corrections at Fix Adoption at Gmail dot com.

STATE
To SIGN
REVOKE TIME FRAME
FATHERS RIGHTS
OPEN AGREEMENTS
AL
while PG 5 days/ unless there is evidence of fraud or
duress14 days/ unless it can be shown that revocation is in the best interests
of child.
putative
father registry
file prior to the child’s birth, or within 30 days after
the child’s birth.Statute: Section 26-10C-1.
issues are not addressed
AK
anytime after birth 10 days unless it can be shown that revocation
is in the best interests of child.
A putative father is entitled to receive notice
of adoption proceedings.No registry
not prohibited./ not enfoced
AR
72 hours Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion within
90 days
putative
father registry
file prior to the child’s birth or within 30 days after
the child’s birth.
An agreement is not enforceable unless the agreement is in
writing and is approved by the court. An agreement entered into pursuant
to this section is enforceable even if it does not disclose the identity
of the parties to the agreement.require the parties to participate in mediation
before petitions for enforcement or modification of an agreement are brought
before the court
AR
Pre Birth and anytime after birth 10 days ( can be reduced to 5 with signature) putative
father registry
file prior to the child’s birth, or at anytime prior
to the filing of a petition for adoption.Statutes: Arkansas Code Ann. sec.
9-9-224
issues are not addressed
CA
In a direct placement, consent may only take
place after the discharge of the mother from the hospital. If the mother
is required to be hospitalized longer than the child, consent may be given
with verification of competency from her physician. Relinquishment to an
agency can take place any time after the birth of the child.
In a direct placement, after consent has been
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.In
an agency adoption, consent is final and may only be rescinded by mutual
consent, unless the birth parent has specified an adoptive parent and that
placement is not finalized; then the parent has 30 days to rescind.
The father must bring an action declaring the
existence of a father-child relationship within 30 days of service of the
notice of adoption proceedings, or the birth of the child, whichever is
later.Notice must be given at least 10 days prior to a proceeding to every
person identified as the natural father or a possible natural father.no
registry
legally enforceable for agency adoptions but
not for independent adoptions/require the parties to participate in mediation
before petitions for enforcement or modification of an agreement are brought
before the court
CO
anytime after birth Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion filed within
90 days
must file a paternity action within 30 days after the child’s
birth, or within 30 days after receiving notice that he is the father or
likely father. The putative father must file an answer within 20 days after
service of notice of termination proceedings.No registry
issues are not addressed
CT
48 hours There is a finding that withdrawal of consent is in the best
interests of the child.
required by the probate court to provide the identity of the
father and must sign a statement of fact.father may file at any time, but
no later than 60 days after the date of notice of termination proceedingsNo
registry
require the parties to participate in mediation before petitions
for enforcement or modification of an agreement are brought before the court
DE
anytime after birth 60 days putative
father registry
must register in the Registry of Paternity before the
birth of the child or within 30 days after the birth of the child
issues are not addressed
DC
72 hours 10 days When a parent cannot be located, or has abandoned
the prospective adopted person, and voluntarily failed to contribute to
his of her support for a period of at least 6 months preceding the date
of the filing of the petition, notice is not required.
issues are not addressed
FL
48 hours 3 days if agency / unless there is evidence of
fraud or duressConsent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion in a private
placement
putative
father registry
may be filed at any time prior to the child’s birth,
or the filing of a petition for termination of rights.Chapter 63, particularly
63.053-054 Florida Statutes
the court, at its discretion, may refer the parties
to mediationand the court may be involved, but it is not leagally enforcable
GA
anytime after birth 10 days. putative
father registry
The putative father must file a petition to legitimate
the child within 30 days of receipt of notice of termination proceedings.Statutes:
15-11-2 and 19-11-9
issues are not addressed
Hi
while PG and then anytime after birth There is a finding that withdrawal of consent
is in the best interests of the child.
The putative father must file within 30 days after
the child’s birth if the mother relinquishes the child for adoption during
the 30 day period.No registry
issues are not addressed
ID
no time frame in laws putative
father registry
May be filed prior to the child’s birth, but must be
filed prior to placement or the commencement of any proceeding to terminate
the parental rights of the birth mother, whichever occurs firstStatutes:
Idaho Code: 16.1513
issues are not addressed
IL
72 hours Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion claimed
within 12 months.
putative
father registry
no later than 30 days after the child’s birth.
issues are not addressed
IN
anytime after birth 30 daysunless it can be shown that revocation
is in the best interests of child.
putative
father registry
within 30 days after the child’s birth, or within 30
days of the date of the filing of a petition for the child’s adoption, whichever
occurs later.Statutes: IC 31-19-9-12 and IC 31-19-5
may file a petition with the court entering the
adoption decree to compel a birth parent or an adoptive parent to comply
with the postadoption contact agreement.
IA
72 hours 96 hours unless there is evidence of fraud or
duress
putative
father registry
prior to the child’s birth, but no later than the date
of the filing of the petition for termination of rights.Statutes: Iowa Code
Ann. § 144.12A & 600A.6
issues are not addressed
KS
12 hours Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion, claimed
within 2 years..
If the putative father fails to appear, or if appearing, fails
to claim custodial rights, parental rights shall be terminated.No registry
issues are not addressed
KY
72 hours 20 days father is made a party, prior to the final order
in the termination proceeding, he acknowledges the child as his own by asserting
paternity in the action, to the custodial agency, or the party bringing
the action, within 60 days after the child’s birthNo registry.
issues are not addressed
LA
5 days IF consent is given before 5 days after birth? putative
father registry
father may oppose an adoption by filing a declaration
of intention, which must be filed within 15 days after service of notice
of surrender, or from the time he was served with notice of adoption,Statutes:
LSA – R.S. 9:400statutes support identification of fathers and require agencies
to exercise due diligence in locating them.
A continuing contact agreement shall be enforceable only if
filed with the court and approved in accordance with Article 1269.4.require
the parties to participate in mediation before petitions for enforcement
or modification of an agreement are brought before the court
ME
anytime after birth 3 days unless there is evidence of fraud or duressAn
adoptive placement is not finalized with a specific family or within 90
days
father may file within 20 days after notice of
adoption is given, or within a longer period of time as ordered by the judgeNo
registry
issues are not addressed
MD
no time frame in laws 30 days father must acknowledge himself to be the father,
orally or in writing, and the natural mother must agree that he is the father
and must anwer court ordes within 30 daysNo Registry
A juvenile court or other court of competent
jurisdiction shall enforce a written agreement made in accordance with this
section unless enforcement is not in the adopted person’s best interests.the
court, at its discretion, may refer the parties to mediation
MA
4 days all consents are irrevokable putative
father registry
Statutes: Mass. Code: Ch. 210. Sec. 4AWithin 30 days
of notice concerning the child’s adoption, the person claiming paternity
must file a petition for adoption or custody of the child with the probate
court.form
online
To be enforceable, an agreement for postadoption contact or
communication shall be in writing, approved by the court prior to the date
for entry of the adoption decree, incorporated but not merged into the adoption
decree, and shall survive as an independent contract.Any party seeking to
enforce an agreement may voluntarily choose mediation
MI
The person who granted consent may petition the court for
a hearing on whether to grant revocation. A release may not be revoked if
the child has been placed for adoption, unless the child was placed as provided
by § 710.41(2) [while an appeal of a termination of parental rights is pending],
and a petition has been filed for a rehearing within the time required.
mother may file an ex parte petition that requests the court
to notify the putative father about his rights to file a notice to claim
paternitNo registry
issues are not addressed
MN
72 hours 10days putative
father registry
Must register no later than 30 days after the child’s
birth. Who has registered must file his intent to initiate a paternity action
within 30 days after receiving notice from the adoption registry in order
to preserve his rights to the child.Statutes: Minn. Stat. sec. 259.52
not legally enforceable unless the terms of the
agreement are contained in a written court order entered in accordance with
this sectionrequire the parties to participate in mediation before petitions
for enforcement or modification of an agreement are brought before the court
MS
72 hours no provision for revoke of consent In the case of a child born out of wedlock, the father shall
not have a right to object to an adoption unless he has demonstrated, within
30 days, a full commitment to being a parent.No registry
issues are not addressed
MO
48 hours Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion, claimed
within 2 years..
putative
father registry
may file prior to the child’s birth, or within 15 days
after the child’s birth, a notice of intent to claim paternity or an acknowledgment
of paternity form.Booklet
online
enforcement is not addressed Considered to be at the sole
discretion of the adoptive parents.
MT
72 hours The parents and adoptive parents mutually agree to the withdrawal
of consentwith in 21 days
putative
father registry
May file prior to the child’s birth, but no later than
72 hours after the child’s birthStatutes: 42-2-201 et seq.
Court can find that an agreement is NOT enforcable and choose
not to
NE
48 hours no provision for revoke of consent putative
father registry
“Biological Father Registry” Neb. Rev. Stats: sec. 43-104.01
& 02may file within 5 business days after the child’s birth, within
5 business days after receipt of notice of adoption proceedings, or within
5 business days after the last date of any published notice, whichever is
later.only basis on which a woman can refuse to disclose the name of her
child’s father, unless she does not know, is if her own safety or that of
the child would be called into question
Any such agreement shall not be enforceable unless approved
by the court pursuant to § 43-163.
NV
72 hours An adoptive placement is not finalized with a specific family
(becasue they are found to be unsuitable) or finalized within 2 years
father must appear at the proceeding and claim custodial rights.No
registry
Any action to enforce the terms of an agreement that provides
for postadoptive contact must be commenced not later than 120 days after
the date on which the agreement was breached.
NH
72 hours There is a finding that withdrawal of consent is in the best
interests of the child.
putative
father registry
file prior to the birth mother’s parental rights being
surrendered or involuntarily terminated.30 days from the date of notice
to request a hearing to prove that he is the father.
To be enforceable, a voluntarily mediated agreement shall
be in writing, approved by the court prior to the date for entry of any
adoption decree, incorporated but not merged into any adoption decree, and
shall survive as an independent agreement./ require the parties to participate
in mediation before petitions for enforcement or modification of an agreement
are brought before the court
NJ
72 hours Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion, claimed
within 2 years..
may file written objections within 20 days of receipt of notice
of adoption proceedings in the case of a resident, or within 35 days if
a nonresident. The putative father is entitled to notice if within 120 days
of the child’s birth, or prior to the date of a preliminary hearing (whichever
occurs first), he has acknowledged paternity by amending the birth certificate
or filing a paternity action in court.No registry
issues are not addressed
NM
48 hours Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion, claimed
within 2 years..
putative
father
registryfather
may file an intent to claim paternity prior to or after the child’s birth.Statutes:
32A-5-20; & 7.2.2 NMAC & Health Statistics
The court shall retain jurisdiction after the decree of adoption
is entered if the decree contains an agreement for contact, for the purpose
of hearing motions
NY
no time frame in laws if consents are signed outside of court 45 days
private adoption / 30 days agency adoption unless there is evidence of fraud
or duress
putative
father registry
father may file an intent to claim paternity prior to
or after the child’s birth.Statutes: § 372-c
legally enforceable for agency adoptions but
not for independent adoptionsAgreements regarding communication with contact
between an adoptive child, adoptive parent or parents, and a birth parent
or parents and/or biological siblings or half-siblings of an adoptive child
shall not be legally enforceable unless the terms of the agreement are incorporated
into a written court order.
NC
anytime after birth 7 days/ 5 days in direct placementunless there
is evidence of fraud or duress
Must file within 15 days of receiving notice
of the mother’s intent to place the child for adoption Is not entitled to
further notice of adoption proceedings if he fails to respond Must file
a response to an adoption petition within 30 days after service of noticeNo
registry
Permits agreements by mutual consent,.The agreement
itself shall not be enforceable.
ND
anytime after birth There is a finding that withdrawal of consent is in the best
interests of the child.
father must appear and claim custodial rights.No registry issues are not addressed
OH
72 hours There is a finding that withdrawal of consent is in the best
interests of the child.
putative
father registry
within 30 days after the child’s birth.form
online
state that mutual agreements for contact are nonbinding and
nonenforceable.An open adoption is not enforceable.
OK
anytime after birth 15 dyas for extrajudical concentsunless there is evidence
of fraud or duressThe parents and adoptive parents mutually agree to the
withdrawal of consent within 21 daysAn adoptive placement is not finalized
with a specific family or within 90days
putative
father registry
must complete the enclosed preaddressed form within 30
days from the date that the Plan for Adoption was servedStatutes: §10-7506-1.1.
(Centralized Paternity Registry)
An agreement regarding communication with, visitation of,
or contact between the child, adoptive parents, and a birth relative is
not legally enforceable unless the terms of the agreement are contained
in a written court order entered in accordance with this section.Require
the parties to participate in mediation before petitions for enforcement
or modification of an agreement are brought before the court
OR
no time frame in laws Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion, claimed
within 2 years..
putative
father registry
Statutes: 109.094, 109.225
An agreement made under the subsection above may be enforced
by a civil action. Requires the parties to participate in mediation before
petitions for enforcement or modification of an agreement are brought before
the court
PN
72 hours 30 daysunless there is evidence of fraud or duress 10 days notice of a termination proceeding shall
be given to the putative father if he has filed a claim of paternity prior
to the institution of proceedings.No registry
issues are not addressed
RI
sign afte birth/filed 15 days 180 daysunless it can be shown that revocation
is in the best interests of child.
father must appear at the adoption proceedings
and claim rights to the child.No registry
A parent or an adoptive parent may file a petition
with the court entering the adoption decree to compel a parent or adoptive
parent to comply with the postadoption privileges agreement.
SC
anytime after birth Revocation is not permitted except where it is
in the child’s best interest, and if consent was given involuntarily or
under duress or coercion. The final decree renders the consent irrevocable.
Must respond within 30 days of receiving notice
of adoption proceedings.No registry
state that mutual agreements for contact are nonbinding
and nonenforceable.Such an agreement does not preserve any parental rights
with the biological parents and does not give to them any rights enforceable
in the courts of this State.
SD
5 days Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion, claimed
within 2 years..
Within 60 days of the child’s birth, the putative father must
acknowledge paternity by Commencing a judicial proceeding claiming a parental
rightNo registry
state that mutual agreements for contact are nonbinding and
nonenforceable.
TN
72 hours 10 daysunless there is evidence of fraud or duress putative
father registry
within 30 days after the child’s birth.must file a complaint
for parentage within 30 days from the receipt of notice of adoption proceedings.
sole discretion of the adoptive parents.
TX
48 hours Consent is IRREVOCABLE if baby is relinquished to the State OR to a state-licensed adoption agency whose relinquishment document clearly states it is irrevocable. (Texas Family Code 161.103)PRIVATE adoptions have a ten day revocation period. putative
father registry
no later than the 31st day after the child’s birth.Statutes:
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. sec. 160.251 et seq.
require the parties to participate in mediation
before petitions for enforcement or modification of an agreement are brought
before the courtThe terms of an order of termination under this section
are not enforceable by contempt.
UT
24 hours all consents are irrevokable putative
father registry
may initiate proceedings to establish paternity prior
to the child’s birth, the mother’s execution of consent, or her relinquishment
of the child to an agency.Statutes: Utah Code Ann. 78-30-4.14(2)(b)(ii-iii)
issues are not addressed
VT
36 hours 21 days unless there is evidence of fraud or
duressThe parents and adoptive parents mutually agree to the withdrawal
of consent within 21 days
must file a claim of paternity within 20 days
after notice of termination proceedings, unless a claim of paternity is
pending.No registry
only enforceable for stepparent adoptions
VA
parental rights 25 days/ Entrustment documents after birth
for agency adoptions/ Parental Placement documents10 days for independent
adoptions.
15 days unless there is evidence of fraud or duressThe parents
and adoptive parents mutually agree to the withdrawal of consent within
15 days
father must object to adoption proceedings within 21 days
of the mailing of the notice of such proceedingsNo registry
issues are not addressed

WA

10 days/48 hours Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion,
claimed within 1 year..
father must file a claim of paternity or respond
to the petition for termination of rights within 20 days of the date of
service of the petition if served within the State, or 30 days if served
outside of the State.No registry
Agreements regarding communication with or contact
between adopted children, adoptive parents, and a birth parent or parents
shall not be legally enforceable unless the terms of the agreement are set
forth in a written court order entered in accordance with the provisions
of this section.
WV
72 hours Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion.The parents
and adoptive parents mutually agree to the withdrawal of consent
Notice also is given to a putative father who has asserted
or exercised parental rights and duties within 6 months of the child’s birth,
if he knew the whereabouts of the child.No registry
The court may hear a petition to enforce the agreement, in
which case the court shall determine whether enforcement of the agreement
would serve the best interests of the child. The court may, in its sole
discretion, consider the position of a child of the age and maturity to
express such position to the court.
WI
anytime after birth Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion. father may file a declaration of parental interest at any
time, until TPRNo regsitry
issues are not addressed
WY
anytime after birth Consent was obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion.§ 1-22-109(d)
Consent is irrevocable unless it was obtained by fraud or duress. If the
court should deny the adoption due to the claim of a putative father, the
court may allow the mother to withdraw consent.
putative
father registry
may file an instrument acknowledging paternity.Must react
within 30 days of knowledge of birth or pregnancyStatutes: 1-22-117
issues are not addressed

For more detailed information including each states statutes
and consent laws go
here.

For more detailed information including particulars regarding
what must be included pre-finialization to ensure that an agreement is
enforcable go
here.

More Details for Father’s rights, registries,specific
provisions of states to claim paternity, etc , go
here.

2 Comments on "Adoption Laws By State"

  1. i’m sooo glad to be from utah. (that would be sarcasm.)

    i never knew how many states let you sign “anytime” after birth. you’ve got to be kidding me.

  2. oh and lots of these states need a time frame where you can change your mind for NO REASON. someone who has just given birth does not need to be worrying about starting a court battle and proving they were under duress.

Comments are closed.

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