Most states generally require that if both natural parents are living, regardless of divorce or separation, consent is required from each parent before adoption proceedings can take place. However, most states also include exceptions to this general rule given specific sets of circumstances.
What Types of Exceptions to Parental Consent Exist for Divorced Parents?
Because adoption law is heavily based on statute (i.e. written down guidelines and regulations), the list of exceptions to parental consent varies from state to state. Also, individual courts within each state can interpret these statutes differently. Some notable issues that come into play when determining parental consent in divorced parent adoption cases include:
- Whether or not the divorce and/or custody of the child has been finalized by a court (interlocutory versus final judgment).
- For separated parents, the duration and permanency of the separation itself.
- Varying state requirements where custody to the child was given in one state and adoption proceedings were initiated in another state.
- Criminal imprisonment of either parent.
- A withdrawal of one parent¿s previous consent to adoption.
- Visitation rights, child support, and other child related issues relating to non-custody parent, as written in a divorce agreement.
It is important to note that, while exceptions to parental consent for divorced parents may vary, most courts place primary consideration on the child's best interest before taking away a divorced parent¿s right to consent to adoption.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
If you are a divorced parent looking to prevent the adoption of your child, an attorney specializing in Family Law can help you familiarize yourself with your state's parental consent laws. A family lawyer can not only help you determine what you rights as a natural parent are, but also whether or not you may be subject to one of the parental consent exceptions previously discussed.