Consent to Adoption - Alabama
Who Must Consent to an Adoption
Citation: Ala. Code §§ 26-10A-7; 26-10A-8
Consent shall be required of the following:
- The mother
- The presumed father, regardless of paternity, if any of the following apply:
- He and the child's mother are or have been married to each other and the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage was terminated.
- Before the child's birth, he and the child's mother attempted to marry each other.
- After the child's birth, he and the child's mother married or attempted to marry each other and, with his knowledge or consent, he was named as the child's father on the child's birth certificate, he is obligated to support the child, or he received the child into his home and openly held out the child as his own child.
- The agency to which the child has been relinquished or holds permanent custody and has placed the child for adoption
- The putative father, if made known by the mother or is otherwise made known to the court, provided he complies with § 26-10C-1 and responds to notice within 30 days
Prior to a minor parent giving consent, a guardian ad litem must be appointed to represent the interests of a minor parent whose consent is required.
A minor father may give implied consent by his actions. If a court finds by conclusive evidence that a minor father has given implied consent to the adoption, notice and the appointment of a guardian ad litem shall not be necessary.
A petition to adopt an adult may be granted only if written consent to adopt has been executed by the adult seeking to adopt and his or her spouse or by the guardian or conservator of the adult adopted person pursuant to the requirements of §§ 26-10A-6 and 26-10A-11.
Consent of Child Being Adopted
Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-7
A child age 14 or older must consent to the adoption, except where the court finds that the child does not have the mental capacity to consent.
When Parental Consent is not Needed
Citation: Ala. Code §§ 26-10A-9; 26-10A-10
A required consent or relinquishment may be implied by any of the following acts of a parent:
- Abandonment of the child, including, but not limited to, the failure of the father, with reasonable knowledge of the pregnancy, to offer financial and/or emotional support for a period of 6 months prior to the birth
- Leaving the child without provision for his or her identification for a period of 30 days
- Knowingly leaving the child with others without provision for support and without communication, or not otherwise maintaining a significant parental relationship with the child for a period of 6 months
- Receiving notice of the adoption proceedings and failing to answer or otherwise respond to the petition within 30 days
- Failing to comply with § 26-10C-1
The consent or relinquishment of the following persons shall not be required for an adoption:
- A parent whose rights with reference to the child have been terminated
- A parent who has been adjudged incompetent or mentally incapable of consenting or relinquishing and whose mental disability is likely to continue for so long a period that it would be detrimental to the child to delay adoption until restoration of the parent's competency or capacity
- A parent who has relinquished his or her minor child to the Department of Human Resources or a licensed child-placing agency for an adoption
- A deceased parent or one who is presumed to be deceased
- An alleged father who has signed a written statement denying paternity
- The natural father when the natural mother indicates the natural father is unknown, unless the natural father is otherwise made known to the court
When Consent Can Be Executed
Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-13
A consent or relinquishment may be taken at any time, except that, once signed or confirmed, it may be withdrawn within 5 days after birth or within 5 days after signing of the consent or relinquishment, whichever comes last.
How Consent Must Be Executed
Citation: Ala. Code §§ 26-10A-11; 26-10A-12
A consent or relinquishment shall be in writing, signed by the person consenting or relinquishing, and shall state that the person executing the document is voluntarily and unequivocally consenting to the adoption of the named child.
A consent of the natural mother taken prior to the birth of a child shall be signed or confirmed before a judge of probate. At the time of taking the consent, the judge shall explain to the consenting parent the legal effect of signing the document and the time limits and procedures for withdrawal of the consent and shall provide the parent with a form for withdrawing the consent in accordance with the requirements of §§ 26-10A-13 and 26-10A-14.
All other prebirth or postbirth consents or relinquishments shall be signed or confirmed before any of the following:
- A judge or clerk of any court that has jurisdiction over adoption proceedings, or a public officer appointed by that judge for the purpose of taking consents
- A person appointed to take consents who is appointed by any agency that is authorized to conduct investigations or home studies, or, if the consent is taken out of State, by a person appointed to take consents by any agency that is authorized by that State's law to conduct investigations and home studies for adoptions
- A notary public
A form for the consent or relinquishment or the withdrawal of the consent or relinquishment is provided in statute.
The form for the consent or relinquishment or the withdrawal of consent or relinquishment for the adoption of an adult shall be developed by the Administrative Office of Courts.
Revocation of Consent
Citation: Ala. Code §§ 26-10A-9; 26-10A-13; 26-10-14
Implied consent due to abandonment may not be withdrawn by any person.
The consent or relinquishment, once signed or confirmed, may not be withdrawn except as follows:
- If the court finds that the withdrawal is reasonable under the circumstances and consistent with the best interests of the child within 14 days after the birth of the child or within 14 days after signing of the consent or relinquishment, whichever comes last
- At any time until the final decree upon a showing that the consent or relinquishment was obtained by fraud, duress, mistake, or undue influence on the part of a petitioner or his or her agent or the agency to whom or for whose benefit it was given
- After 1 year from the date of final decree of adoption is entered, a consent or relinquishment may not be challenged on any ground except in cases where the child has been kidnapped.
- Upon dismissal of the adoption after a contested hearing, as provided in § 26-10A-24