Consent to Adoption - New Jersey

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-41; 9:3-45

The child may be surrendered for adoption by either of the following:

  • The parent or guardian of the child
  • Any agency that has obtained the authority to place the child for adoption

For purposes of this section, 'parent' means the following:

  • The husband of the mother of a child born or conceived during the marriage
  • A putative or alleged biological mother or father of a child

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-49

If the child sought to be adopted is age 10 or older, the child shall be required to appear at the final adoption hearing unless waived by the court for good cause shown, and the child's wishes concerning the adoption shall be solicited by the court and given consideration if the child is of sufficient capacity to form an intelligent preference regarding the adoption.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-45; 9:3-46

Notice of an adoption proceeding shall not be served on a parent to whom any of the following applies:

  • Who has executed a valid surrender to an approved agency
  • Whose parental rights have been terminated in a separate judicial proceeding
  • Who has, prior to the placement of the child for adoption, received notice of the intention to place the child and who has either failed to file written objections or denied paternity or maternity of the child
  • Who has given the child for adoption to the adopting parent, and the court has determined that the surrender was voluntary and proper
  • Whose child has been made available for adoption in a foreign State or country if it has been determined that the child has been approved for adoptive placement
  • Who is presumed to be the biological father of the child but who, within 120 days of the birth of the child or prior to the date of the preliminary hearing, whichever occurs first, has not acknowledged paternity

A judgment of adoption shall be entered over an objection of a person who is entitled to notice if the court finds, during the 6-month period prior to the placement of the child for adoption or within 120 days after the birth of a child or prior to the date of the preliminary hearing, whichever occurs first, in the case of a child placed for adoption as a newborn infant, the following:

  • That the parent has substantially failed to perform the regular and expected parental functions of care and support of the child, although able to do so
  • That the parent is unable to perform the regular and expected parental functions of care and support of the child and that the parent's inability to perform those functions is unlikely to change in the immediate future

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41(e)

A surrender by the birth parent of a child shall not be valid if taken within 72 hours of the birth of the child. The denial of paternity by an alleged father, at any time including prior to the birth of the child, shall be deemed a surrender for purposes of allowing the child to be adopted.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-41(a); 9:3-45(b)(4)

Surrender of a child to an approved agency for the purpose of adoption shall be acknowledged by an instrument signed by the person executing the instrument before an officer authorized to take acknowledgments or proofs in the State in which the instrument is executed. Prior to the execution of the surrender, the approved agency shall, directly or through its agent, inform the person executing the surrender that the instrument is a surrender of parental rights by the signatory and means the permanent end of the relationship and all contact between the parent and child.

Any approved agency may accept custody of a child by a duly executed instrument of surrender from a parent or guardian of the child or from another approved agency or any agency for the care and protection of children approved by any other State, the United States, or any foreign country that has duly obtained the authority to place the child for adoption. A surrender executed in another State or foreign country by a resident of that State or country and valid where executed shall be deemed a valid surrender in this State if taken more than 72 hours after the birth of the child.

At the request of a parent of the child, an approved agency may receive that parent's surrender of his or her child for purposes of having the child adopted by a person specified by the surrendering parent. A hearing may be held to determine whether the surrender was voluntary and proper.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41(a)

The surrender shall be valid and binding without regard to the age of the person executing the surrender and shall be irrevocable except at the discretion of the approved agency taking such surrender or upon order or judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction setting aside such surrender upon proof of fraud, duress, or misrepresentation by the approved agency.