If you are considering a Minnesota adoption, there are a few things which you should know. Foremost, you need to understand the initial legal requirements behind a Petition for Adoption.
A Petition for Adoption must be filed in all Minnesota adoptions. In order to file a petition, the child to be adopted must be placed for adoption by the commissioner of human services, his agent, or a licensed child placing agency.
However, there are exceptions to this requirement, including:
- where the adoptive child or adult is over 14 years of age;
- where the person petitioning for adoption is related to the child (typically a family member);
- a child who is placed for adoption under the laws of another state and where the person requesting the adoption and the child resided in that state;
- if the court waives the requirement of placement because it is in the best interest of the child or the petitioner.
If any of the above exceptions are met, the requirement of placement by the listed agencies willed by waived.
What must be in the actual Minnesota adoption petition?
Every petition for adoption in Minnesota has certain legal requirements. The adoption petition should include:
- The full name, age, and place of residence of the petitioner (person requesting the adoption) and, if married, the date and place of marriage;
- the date the petitioner acquired physical custody of the proposed adoptive child and from what person or agency;
- the date of birth of the child, if known, and the state and county where the child was born;
- the name of the child’s parents, if known, and the guardian if one exists;
- the name of the child and any aliases of the child (if any);
- the name to be given to the child if a change of name is desired;
- the description and value of any real or personal property owned by the child;
- an statement that the petitioner desires that the relationship of parents and child be established between the petitioner and the child;
- and, finally, that the adoption is in the child’s best interest.
The information listed above must be in every adoption petition filed in Minnesota. If any of the above-listed information is not included, a court may dismiss the adoption petition in its entirety.
Consent of a parent or guardian to an adoption
In addition to the requirement behind a petition for adoption, the general rule is that no child may be adopted in Minnesota without the consent of the child’s parents and/or the child’s guardian.
The consent requirement is not easily removed. However, there are exceptions to the rule:
Consent is not required of a parent who is not entitled to notice of the adoption proceedings. The qualification of “not entitled” is statutory and you should speak with a Minnesota adoption lawyer for further questions.
Also, the consent of a parent is not required of a parent who has abandoned the child, or of a parent who has lost legal custody of the child through a judgment and decree of marital dissolution and that parent has received proper notice of the adoption hearing.
Consent is not required of a parent whose parental rights have been terminated by a juvenile court or who has lost his or her custody rights of a child through a court order or prior adoption proceeding.
Consent is also not required if there is no parent available to give consent. This could be because the parent are deceased or their whereabouts are otherwise unavailable.
Revocation of consent for a Minnesota adoption
Finally, it is important to know that if a parent gives his or her consent to the adoption of a child, that consent can be revoked if such consent was obtained through duress. If you are faced with a situation where a parent is trying to revoke consent or you wish to revoke your consent, you need to speak with a qualified adoption lawyer who can argue the duress issue.
Also, if an unmarried parent who is under the age of 18 consents to an adoption of a child, the minor’s parents must also consent to the adoption. Therefore, let’s imagine that a sixteen-year-old has a child and wants to give it up for adoption. That girls parent’s must also consent to the adoption in Minnesota.
Furthermore, the minor parent must be given the opportunity to speak with an attorney, a clergyman, or a physician before consenting to the adoption of the child. If there is an adoption agency involved, they must provide this access to the minor.
Consent for an adoption after the birth of a child
A person whose consent is required by Minnesota law cannot give his or her consent until 72 hours after the birth of a child and not later than 60 days after the child’s placement in a perspective adoptive parent’s home. Therefore, proposed adoptive parents in Minnesota need to be aware of the timing of the consent.
Those are the basics for Minnesota adoptions and consents. I’ll will keep posting on issues related to adoptions in Minnesota. For further questions about the requirements of a petitions for adoptions in Minnesota and consents of parents, feel free to contact the firm.