Consent to Adoption - Indiana

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-9-1

Written consent to adoption must be executed by the following:

  • Each living parent of a child born in wedlock
  • The mother of a child born out of wedlock and the father of a child who has established paternity
  • Each person, agency, or county Office of Family and Children having lawful custody of the child
  • 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
  • The spouse of the child to be adopted if the child is married

A parent who is under age 18 may consent to an adoption without the concurrence of the individual's parents or guardian unless the court, in the court's discretion, determines that it is in the best interests of the child to be adopted to require the concurrence.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-9-1

A child who is age 14 or older must consent to the adoption.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-9-8 to 31-19-9-10

Consent is not required from any of the following:

  • A parent who is adjudged to have abandoned the child for at least 6 months immediately prior to filing of the petition
  • A parent of a child in the custody of another person who fails for a period of at least 1 year to communicate significantly or provide for the care and support of the child when able to do so
  • A birth father of a child born out of wedlock who has not established paternity
  • A birth father of a child born out of wedlock whose child was conceived as a result of rape, child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor, or incest
  • A putative father whose consent to adoption is irrevocably implied, who established paternity after an adoption petition was filed, or who failed to register with the putative father registry
  • A parent who has relinquished the right to consent or whose rights have been terminated
  • A parent judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective
  • A legal guardian who has unreasonably failed to consent to the adoption
  • A parent who has been found to be unfit
  • A birth father who had denied paternity before or after the birth of the child

Consent to adoption is not required from a parent if the parent is convicted of committing murder, causing suicide, or voluntary manslaughter and the victim is the child's other parent.

Consent to adoption is not required from a parent if the parent is convicted of any of the following and the victim is the child or the child's sibling, half-sibling, or stepsibling:

  • Murder, causing suicide, or voluntary manslaughter
  • Rape, criminal deviate conduct, child molesting, or incest
  • Neglect of a dependent or battery

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-9-2

The consent to adoption may be executed at any time after the birth of the child. The child's mother may not execute a consent to adoption before the birth of the child.

The child's father may execute a consent to adoption before the birth of the child if the consent to adoption meets the following requirements:

  • Is in writing
  • Is signed by the child's father in the presence of a notary public
  • Contains an acknowledgment that the consent to adoption is irrevocable and the child's father will not receive notice of the adoption proceedings

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-19-9-2

The consent to adoption may be executed in the presence of any of the following:

  • The court
  • A notary public or other person authorized to take acknowledgments
  • An authorized agent of the department, a county office of family and children, or a licensed child-placing agency

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-19-9-2(d); 31-19-10-3; 31-19-10-4

A child's father who consents to the adoption of the child prior to the child's birth may not challenge or contest the child's adoption.

A consent to adoption may be withdrawn no later than 30 days after consent to adoption is signed if the court finds that the person seeking the withdrawal is acting in the best interests of the child.

A consent to adoption may not be withdrawn after the entry of the adoption decree.