Consent to Adoption - Arkansas

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-206

A petition to adopt a minor may be granted only if written consent to a particular adoption has been executed by the following:

  • The mother
  • The father if any of the following apply:
    • He was married to the mother at the time the minor was conceived or at any time thereafter.
    • The child is his child by adoption.
    • He has physical custody of the minor at the time the petition is filed.
    • He has a written order granting him legal custody of the minor at the time the petition for adoption is filed.
    • A court has adjudicated him to be the legal father prior to the time the petition for adoption is filed
    • He proves a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship existed with the minor before the petition for adoption is filed.
    • He has acknowledged paternity under § 9-10-120(a).
  • Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the minor or empowered to consent
  • The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the minor if the legal guardian or custodian of the person of the minor is not empowered to consent to the adoption
  • The spouse of the minor to be adopted

A petition to adopt an adult may be granted only if written consent to adoption has been executed by the adult and the adult's spouse.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-206

A child who is age 12 or older must consent to the adoption unless, in the child's best interests, the court dispenses with consent.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-207

Consent to adoption is not required of the following:

  • A parent who has deserted a child without affording means of identification or who has abandoned a child
  • A parent of a child in the custody of another if the parent has failed significantly and without justifiable cause to communicate with the child or to provide for the care and support of the child for at least 1 year
  • The father of a minor if the father's consent is not required by § 9-9-206(a)(2)
  • A parent who has relinquished the right to consent or whose rights have been terminated
  • A parent judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective if the court dispenses with the parent's consent
  • Any parent of the adopted person if the adopted person is an adult
  • Any legal guardian or custodian of the child, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or who is found by the court to be withholding his or her consent unreasonably
  • The spouse of the adopted person if the failure of the spouse to consent is excused by the court by reason of prolonged unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances constituting an unreasonable withholding of consent
  • A putative father of a minor who signed an acknowledgment of paternity or is listed on the Putative Father Registry but who failed to establish a significant custodial, personal, or financial relationship with the juvenile prior to the time the petition for adoption is filed

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-208

Consent to adoption shall be executed any time after the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-208

The required consent to adoption shall be executed in the following manner:

  • If by the adopted person, in the presence of the court
  • If by an agency, by the executive head, or other authorized representative, in the presence of a person authorized to take acknowledgments
  • If by any other person, in the presence of the court or in the presence of a person authorized to take acknowledgments
  • If by a court, by appropriate order or certificate

A consent that does not identify the adopting parent is valid if the consent contains a statement by the person giving consent that the person voluntarily executed the consent irrespective of disclosure of the name or other identification of the adopting parent.

If the parent is a minor, the writing shall be signed by a court-ordered guardian ad litem who has been appointed by a judge of a court of record to appear on behalf of the minor parent for the purpose of executing consent. The signing shall be made in the presence of an authorized representative of the Arkansas-licensed placement agency taking custody of the child, in the presence of a notary public, or in the presence and with the approval of a judge of a court of record of this State or any other State in which the minor was present at the time it was signed.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Ann. Code § 9-9-209

A consent to adoption cannot be withdrawn after the entry of a decree of adoption.

A person may withdraw his or her consent to adopt within 10 calendar days, or, if a waiver of the 10-day period is elected, 5 calendar days after the consent to adopt is signed or the child is born, whichever is later, by filing an affidavit with the probate division clerk of the circuit court in the county designated by the consent as the county in which the guardianship petition will be filed, if there is a guardianship, or where the petition for adoption will be filed, if there is no guardianship.

If the 10-day period, or, if a waiver of the 10-day period is elected, the 5-day period ends on a weekend or a legal holiday, the natural person may file the affidavit the next working day. No fee shall be charged for the filing of the affidavit.

The court may excuse the period for filing a withdrawal of consent for a biological parent if a stepparent is adopting.

The period for filing a withdrawal of consent does not apply to the following:

  • An agency as defined in §€‰9-9-202
  • A minor who is older than age 12 whose consent to the adoption is required