Family Rules 5
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Who may adopt:
- unmarried adults
- married couples
- stepparent of adoptee
- parties separated from spouse for three yeaers or more (other spouse has not obligation to the adoptee)
- unmarried adult may adopt biological child of a life partner.
Termination of natural parent's rights
Voluntary termination: by a putative father who fails to register. If child is over 14, must consent to adoption. Surrender of parental rights is irrevocable if child is placed with adoptive parents and more than 30 days have elapse since the execution of the instrument, absent fraud, duress, or coercion. Surrender via private placement is irrevocable if expressly stated and acknowledged before court 45 days after commencement of adoption.
Involuntary termination: upon life sentence of parent. Grounds for involuntary termination - sbsnfonmrny (intent to forgo parental rights and obligations), permanent neglect, inability to provide basic care due to mental retardation or mental illness, child abuse on severe and repeated basis, if child has been placed outside home and not with relative for 15 of past 22 months.
Determination of neglect: Two-part inquiry - whether child is in near or impending damger and whether the parent acted as reasonable parent would in such circumstances.
Determination of abandonment: No contact or insubstantial contact with the child. Payment of fair and reasonable supoort is substantial contact.
Burden of persuasion: clear and convincing evidence needed to terminate parental rights since they are constitutional in nature.
Legal effect of adoption
adoptive parents have all rights and responsibilities of biological parent and adopted child has all rights and responsibilities of biologicall child.
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