Consent to Adoption - Delaware

Date: October 2021

Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 908

The consent to the adoption shall be granted by the department or by the licensed or authorized agency in whom the parental rights are vested.

In the case of an adoption by a stepparent or blood relative, the consent to the adoption shall be granted by the mother of the child and the birth father and any presumed father of the child.

If the individual with the right to consent is under age 18, this fact shall not be a bar to the giving of consent nor render the consent invalid.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 907

A child who is age 14 or older must provide written consent unless the court finds it in the child's best interests to waive consent.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 1103(a)

The parent's consent is not required when his or her parental rights have been involuntarily terminated, it appears to be in the child's best interests, and one or more of the following grounds exist:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent is unable to discharge parental duties due to mental incompetence.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony in which a child has been harmed or endangered.
  • The parent is unable or has failed to plan adequately for the child's needs.
  • Parental rights over a sibling of the child have been involuntarily terminated.
  • The parent has subjected a child to torture, chronic abuse, sexual abuse, and/or life-threatening abuse.
  • A child has suffered unexplained serious physical injury, near death, or death that resulted from the intentional or reckless conduct or willful neglect of the parent.

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 1106(c)

A mother whose consent to the termination of parental rights is required may execute a consent only after the child is born. Consent by the father or presumed father may be executed either before or after the child is born.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, §§ 907; 1106(c)

A petition for adoption shall contain a consent to the proposed adoption. The consent shall be in writing, notarized, and attached to the petition as an exhibit. If consent is obtained or given outside this State, it must be executed in accordance with this section and § 908 of this title.

A consent executed by a parent or guardian must be signed or confirmed in the presence of one of the following:

  • A judge of a court of record
  • An individual designated by a judge to take consents
  • An employee designated by an agency to take consents
  • A lawyer other than a lawyer who is representing an adoptive parent or the agency to which parental rights will be transferred
  • A commissioned officer on active duty in the military service of the United States if the individual executing the consent is in military service
  • An officer of the Foreign Service or a consular officer of the United States in another country if the individual executing the consent is in that country

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 909

In any case in which consent has been given in accordance with the provisions of § 907 of this title and the person, department, licensed agency, authorized agency, or child over age 14 giving the consent desires to withdraw the consent, he or she shall file, within 60 days from the date of the filing of the adoption petition containing the consent, a petition asking the court to revoke his or her consent and dismiss the adoption petition. The family court shall refer the petition to revoke and dismiss to the department or licensed agency, and the department or licensed agency shall, within 30 days, make a formal report to the court. Promptly upon receipt of the report, the court shall rule upon the petition.

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