Consent to Adoption - New Mexico

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-5-17; 32A-5-22

Consent to adoption or relinquishment of parental rights to the department or an agency licensed by the State of New Mexico shall be required of the following:

  • The mother
  • The proposed adoptive parent
  • The presumed father
  • The acknowledged father
  • The Children, Youth and Families Department or the agency to whom the child has been relinquished that has placed the child for adoption
  • The guardian of the child's parent, when that guardian has express authority to consent to adoption

In any adoption involving an Indian child, consent to adoption by the petitioner or relinquishment of parental rights shall be obtained from an Indian custodian, as required by the provisions of the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. § 1901, et seq.).

Counseling required shall occur prior to consent to the adoption or the relinquishment of parental rights. Counseling shall be required for the following persons:

  • The adoptee if the adoptee is age 10 or older
  • The adoptee's parent who is consenting to the adoption or relinquishing parental rights
  • In a stepparent adoption, when the stepparent and the custodial parent have been married for more than 1 year but less than 2 years
  • The custodial parent whose parental rights are not being terminated, but who is consenting to adoption of the adoptee by the stepparent
  • The petitioning stepparent

The adoptee's parent who is consenting to the adoption or relinquishing parental rights shall be counseled regarding alternatives to and the consequences of adoption. In a stepparent adoption, the custodial parent consenting to the adoption of the custodial parent's child by the stepparent and the petitioning stepparent shall be counseled regarding alternatives to adoption, the consequences of the adoption, child custody, and child support.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-5-21; 32A-5-22

Consent to adoption shall be required of the child who is age 14 or older and shall be in a writing signed by the child.

An adoptee who is age 10 or older shall be counseled regarding the following:

  • The adoptee's understanding of the adoption process, the consequences of the adoption, and alternatives to the adoption
  • The adoptee's feelings and wishes regarding the adoption
  • The adoptee's readiness for the adoption
  • Any other issues relevant to the adoption, given the specific circumstances of the adoption

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-5-18; 32A-5-19

A consent to adoption shall be implied by the court if the parent, without justifiable cause, has done one of the following:

  • Left the child without provision for the child's identification for a period of 14 days
  • Left the child with others, including the other parent or an agency, without provisions for support and without communication for either of the following periods of time:
    • Three months if the child was under age 6 at the commencement of the 3-month period
    • Six months if the child was over age 6 at the commencement of the 6-month period

The consent to adoption shall not be required from the following:

  • A parent whose rights with reference to the child have been terminated
  • A parent who has relinquished the child to an agency for adoption
  • A biological father of a child conceived as a result of rape or incest
  • A person who has failed to respond when given notice pursuant to the provisions of § 32A-5-27
  • An alleged father who has failed to register with the putative father registry within 10 days of the child's birth and is not otherwise the acknowledged father

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-5-21(G)

No consent to adoption or relinquishment of parental rights shall be valid if executed within 48 hours after the child's birth.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-5-21; 32A-5-23

A consent by a parent shall be in writing and state the following:

  • The date, place, and time of execution
  • The date and place of birth of the child and any names by which the child has been known
  • The identity of the adoptive parent, if known
  • That the person executing the consent has been counseled by a certified counselor of the person's choice and with this knowledge the person is voluntarily and unequivocally consenting
  • That the consenting party has been advised of the legal consequences of the consent either by independent legal counsel or a judge
  • That the consent to or relinquishment for adoption cannot be withdrawn
  • That the person executing the consent waives further notice of the adoption proceedings

When the consent is in English and English is not the first language of the consenting person, the person taking the consent shall certify in writing that the document has been read and explained to the person whose consent is being taken in that person's first language. That certification will include the name of the person who read and explained the document and that the meaning and implications of the document are fully understood by the person giving the consent.

A consent taken by an individual appointed to take consents by an agency shall be notarized. When a consent is signed in the presence of a judge, it need not be notarized.

The requirements of a consent to adoption or relinquishment of parental rights involving an Indian child and the rights of a parent of an Indian child to withdraw the consent or relinquishment shall be governed by the relevant provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

A consent to adoption or relinquishment of parental rights shall be signed before, and approved on the record by, a judge who has jurisdiction over adoption proceedings within or without this State and who is in the jurisdiction in which the child is present or in which the parent resides.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-5-21(I); 32A-5-17

A consent or relinquishment executed by a parent who is a minor shall not be subject to revocation solely by reason of the parent's minority.

A consent to or relinquishment for adoption shall not be withdrawn prior to the entry of a decree of adoption unless the court finds that the consent or relinquishment was obtained by fraud.

In no event shall a consent or relinquishment be withdrawn after the entry of a decree of adoption.