Consent to Adoption - Iowa

Date: October 2021

Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.7

The following persons must consent to an adoption:

  • Any guardian
  • The spouse of a petitioner who is a stepparent
  • The spouse of a petitioner who is separately petitioning to adopt an adult person

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.7

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

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.7; 600A.8

Consent may be unnecessary if the following apply:

  • Any person required to consent refuses to or cannot be located.
  • A parent has signed a release of custody and the release has not been revoked.
  • A parent has petitioned for termination of parental rights.
  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • A parent has been ordered to contribute to the support of the child or financially aid in the child's birth and has failed to do so without good cause.
  • A parent does not object to the termination after having been given proper notice and the opportunity to object.
  • An adoptive parent requests termination of parental rights and the parent-child relationship based upon a showing that the adoption was fraudulently induced.
  • The parent has been determined to be a chronic substance abuser and the parent has committed a second or subsequent domestic abuse assault.
  • The parent has abducted the child, has improperly removed the child from the physical custody of the person entitled to custody without the consent of that person, or has improperly retained the child after a visit or other temporary relinquishment of physical custody.
  • The parent has been imprisoned for a crime against the child, the child's sibling, or another child in the household, or the parent has been imprisoned and it is unlikely that the parent will be released from prison for a period of 5 or more years.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony offense against a minor, the parent is divorced from or was never married to the minor's other parent, and the parent is incarcerated for at least 5 years for that offense.
  • The child was conceived as the result of sexual abuse, and the biological parent against whom the sexual abuse was perpetrated requests termination of the parental rights of the person who perpetrated the abuse.

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600A.4(2)(g)

Parental release of custody may not be executed until at least 72 hours after the child's birth.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.7; 600A.4

A consent to the adoption shall be in writing, shall name the child and the petitioner, shall be signed by the person consenting, and shall be made in the following manner:

  • Any minor adopted person who is age 14 or older, in the presence of the juvenile court or court in which the adoption petition is filed
  • By any other person, either in the presence of the court or before a notary public

A release of custody shall meet the following requirements:

  • Be accepted only by an adoption service provider
  • Not be accepted by a person who in any way intends to adopt the child
  • Be in writing
  • Contain the written acknowledgment from the birth parents that 3 hours of counseling have been offered to the birth parents regarding the decision to release custody and the alternatives available to take place after the birth of the child
  • Be witnessed by two persons familiar with the parent-child relationship
  • Name the person accepting the release
  • Be followed, within a reasonable time, by the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights under § 600A.5
  • Shall state the purpose of the release, indicate that if it is not revoked it may be grounds for termination, and fully inform the signing parent of how a revocation of the release may be sought

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.7; 600A.4

A consent to the adoption may be withdrawn prior to the issuance of an adoption decree by the filing of an affidavit of consent withdrawal with the court.

Either a parent who has signed a release of custody or a nonsigning parent may, at any time prior to the entry of an order terminating parental rights, request the court to order the revocation of any release of custody previously executed by either parent.

If such request is by a signing parent and is within 96 hours of the time such parent signed a release of custody, the court shall order the release revoked. Otherwise, the juvenile court shall order the release or releases revoked only upon clear and convincing evidence that good cause exists for revocation.

Good cause for revocation includes, but is not limited to, a showing that the release was obtained by fraud, coercion, or misrepresentation of law or fact that was material to its execution. In determining whether good cause exists for revocation, the juvenile court shall give paramount consideration to the best interests of the child, including avoidance of a disruption of an existing relationship between a parent and child.

Related Resources