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What You Need to Know about Consent Requirements in Indiana Adoption Cases

Adoption cases in Indiana have a strict statutory scheme that must be followed to ensure that there is a valid and enforceable adoption. Public policy emphasizes the need for consistency and the wellbeing of children in the state of Indiana, and so the adoption process is no different. One major requirement in adoption proceedings is the need for consent from the biological parents, which ensures that the adoption process is ethical. An attorney would be useful in this situation because they will advocate for your position and make sure that the adoption process is in accordance with the statutory requirements. This blog discusses the consent requirements in adoption proceedings in Indiana. 

Indiana Code 31-19-9-1 states, “(a) [e]xcept as otherwise provided in this chapter, a petition to adopt a child who is less than eighteen (18) years of age may be granted only if written consent to adoption has been executed …” This statute lays out different scenarios in which consent is required, such as I.C. 31-19-9-1(a)(1) that states, “each parent of a child born in wedlock, including a man who is presumed to be the child’s biological father under IC 31-14-7-1(1) if the man is the biological or adoptive parent of the child.” Essentially, consent from the mother is required and so is consent from the father but there may be different scenarios for the father that apply. Further, an example would be if the child is born out of wedlock and the biological father's paternity has been established via I.C. 31-14-20-2 or I.C. 16-37-2-2.1. The putative father is able to give implied consent, which means, “the putative father’s consent to adoption of the child is irrevocably implied without further court action if the father: (1) fails to file a paternity action: (A) under IC 31-14; or (B) in a court located in another state that is competent to obtain jurisdiction over the paternity action; not more than fifteen (15) days after receiving actual notice under IC 31-19-3 of the mother’s intent to proceed with an adoptive placement of the child, regardless of whether the child is born before or after the expiration of the fifteen (15) day period.” However, if the putative father does file a paternity action pursuant to I.C. 31-14; “or in a court located in another state that is competent to obtain jurisdiction over the paternity action; during the fifteen (15) day period prescribed by subdivision (1) and fails to establish paternity proceeding under IC 31-14 or the laws applicable to a court of another state when the court obtains jurisdiction over the paternity action.” Consequently, timing and the appropriate actions are necessary for the putative father to provide consent rather than implied if that is the course of action. 

There are other scenarios in which consent is required in adoption proceedings, such as, “each person, agency, or local office having lawful custody of the child whose adoption is being sought; the court having jurisdiction of the custody of the child if the legal guardian or custodian of the person of the child is not empowered to consent to the adoption.” Additionally, consent is required from the child if they are more than fourteen (14) years old or consent from the spouse of the child to be adopted if the child is married. Ultimately, the Indiana Code 31-19-9-1 provides a very lengthy and detailed list of all persons whose consent is required in an adoption proceeding. It is crucial that you understand the statutory scheme and know how you play a role in this matter, especially concerning consent to the adoption. 

The next step for consent in adoption proceedings is the execution of consent. Pursuant to I.C. 31-19-9-2, “(a) [t]he consent to adoption may be executed or acknowledged at any time after the birth of the child, either in the presence of : (1) the court, in person or by video conferencing; (2) a notary public or other person authorized to take acknowledgments; or (3) an authorized agent of: (A) the department; or (B) a licensed child placing agency.” However, it is important to note that the mother is not allowed to execute a consent to adoption before the birth of the child. This is not the same requirement for the father, further, “[t]he child’s father may execute a consent to adoption before the birth of the child if the consent to adoption: (1) is in writing; (2) is signed by the child’s father in the presence of a notary public; and (3) contains an acknowledgment that: (A) the consent to adoption is irrevocable; and (B) the child’s father will not receive notice of the adoption proceedings.”

Indeed, this is certainly a lot of information concerning just one piece of the puzzle for adoption proceedings. An experienced attorney can make sure that the consent requirements are managed in accordance with the state law and can ease your stress associated with an intense statutory scheme for adoption. The attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. are experienced and skilled in this area and have practiced throughout the state of Indiana. We are here to assist you in your adoption proceedings. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. and this blog is not intended as specific legal advice or solicitation of services as this is an advertisement. 

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