Consent to Adoption - North Dakota

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-05

A petition to adopt a minor may be granted only if written consent to a particular adoption has been executed by the following:

  • The mother of the minor, whether by birth or adoption
  • The father of the minor if either of the following applies:
    • The minor is the father's child by adoption or the father has otherwise legitimated the minor according to the laws of the place in which the adoption proceeding is brought.
    • The person is presumed to be the biological father of the minor, provided the nonexistence of the father-child relationship between them has not been judicially determined.
  • Any individual lawfully entitled to custody of the minor or empowered to consent
  • The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the minor if the legal guardian or custodian of the minor is not empowered to consent to the adoption
  • The spouse of the minor adopted person

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-05

A child who is age 10 or older must consent to the adoption.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-06

Consent to adoption is not required of the following:

  • A parent who has deserted a child without affording means of identification or who has abandoned a child
  • A parent of a child in the custody of another if the parent has failed significantly without justifiable cause to communicate with the child or to provide for the care and support of the child for a period of at least 1 year
  • The father of a minor if the father's consent is not required by § 14-15-05(1)
  • A parent who has relinquished the right to consent
  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
  • A parent judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective if the court dispenses with the parent's consent
  • Any parent of the adopted person if the adopted person is an adult
  • Any legal guardian or lawful custodian of the child, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or who, after examination of the guardian's or custodian's written reasons for withholding consent, is found by the court to be withholding consent unreasonably
  • The spouse of the adopted person if the failure of the spouse to consent to the adoption is excused by the court by reason of prolonged unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances constituting an unreasonable withholding of consent
  • A parent of the minor if the failure of the parent to consent is excused by the court in the best interests of the child by reason of the parent's prolonged unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or significant failure, without justifiable cause, to establish a substantial relationship with the minor or to manifest a significant parental interest in the minor, or by reason of inability of the court to identify the parent

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-07

The required consent to adoption may be executed at any time after the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-07

The required consent to adoption must be executed in the following manner:

  • If by the individual to be adopted, in the presence of the court
  • If by an agency, by the executive head or other authorized representative in the presence of an individual authorized to take acknowledgments
  • If by any other individual, in the presence of the court or in the presence of an individual authorized to take acknowledgments
  • If by a court, by appropriate order or certificate

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Cent. Code § 14-15-08

A consent to adoption cannot be withdrawn after the entry of a decree of adoption.

A consent to adoption may be withdrawn before the entry of a decree of adoption if the court finds, after notice and opportunity to be heard is afforded to the petitioner, the individual seeking the withdrawal, and the agency placing a child for adoption, that the withdrawal is in the best interests of the individual to be adopted and the court orders the withdrawal.