Consent to Adoption - South Carolina

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-310

Consent or relinquishment for the purpose of adoption is required of the following persons:

  • The parents or surviving parent of a child conceived or born during the marriage of the parents
  • The mother of a child born when the mother was not married
  • The father of a child born when the father was not married to the child's mother if the child was placed with the prospective adoptive parents more than 6 months after the child's birth, but only if the father has maintained substantial and continuous or repeated contact with the child
  • The father of a child born when the father was not married to the child's mother if the child was placed with the prospective adoptive parents less than 6 months after the child's birth, but only if the father openly lived with the child or the child's mother for a continuous period of 6 months and openly held himself out to be the father or paid a fair and reasonable sum for the support of the child

Consent or relinquishment for the purpose of adoption is required of the legal guardian, child-placing agency, or legal custodian of the child if authority to execute a consent or relinquishment has been vested legally in the agency or person and both parents of the child are deceased or their parental rights have been judicially terminated.

Consent is required of the child-placing agency or person facilitating the placement of the child for adoption if the child has been relinquished for adoption to the agency or person.

Consent or relinquishment for the purpose of adoption given by a parent who is a minor is not subject to revocation by reason of the parent's minority.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-310

A child who is age 14 or older must consent to the adoption except where the court finds that the child lacks the mental capacity to consent or that it is not in the child's best interests.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-320

Consent or relinquishment for the purpose of adoption is not required of the following persons:

  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
  • A parent whom the family court finds to be mentally incapable of giving consent or relinquishment for the purpose of adoption and whom the court finds to be unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the child and whose capacity is unlikely to be restored for a reasonable period of time, and, in the court's judgment, it would be detrimental to the child to delay adoption
  • The biological parent of a child conceived as a result of that parent's criminal sexual conduct or incest

A parent who has executed a relinquishment pursuant to § 63-9-330 to a person facilitating the adoption or to a child-placing agency for the purpose of adoption of his or her child is not required also to execute a separate consent document.

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-330

Consent may be given at any time after the child's birth.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-9-330; 63-9-340

Consent or relinquishment for the purpose of adoption must be made by a sworn document signed by the person or the head of the agency giving consent or relinquishment after the birth of the child.

The sworn document that gives consent must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom must be one of the following:

  • A judge of any family court
  • An attorney licensed to practice law in South Carolina who does not represent the prospective adoption petitioners
  • A person certified by the State Department of Social Services to obtain consents or relinquishments
  • When the consent or relinquishment is obtained outside the State, by an attorney licensed to practice law in that State, by a person designated by an agency of that State, by a person or agency authorized by that State's law to obtain consents or relinquishments or to conduct investigations for adoptions, or by a qualified resident of that State authorized by a South Carolina family court

The persons who witness the signing of the consent shall attach written certification signed by each witness to the document stating that before the signing of the document, the provisions of the document were discussed with the person giving consent, and that based on this discussion, it is each witness's opinion that consent or relinquishment is being given voluntarily and that it is not being obtained under duress or through coercion.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-9-330; 63-9-350

The written consent must attest that the person giving consent understands that consent or relinquishment once given must not be withdrawn unless the court finds that it is in the best interests of the child and that the consent or relinquishment was not given voluntarily or was obtained under duress or through coercion. The written consent must also attest that the entry of the final decree of adoption renders any consent or relinquishment irrevocable.

Withdrawal of any consent or relinquishment is not permitted except by order of the court after notice and opportunity to be heard is given to all persons concerned and except when the court finds that the withdrawal is in the best interests of the child and that the consent or relinquishment was not given voluntarily or was obtained under duress or through coercion. Any person attempting to withdraw consent or relinquishment shall file the reasons for withdrawal with the family court. The entry of the final decree of adoption renders any consent or relinquishment irrevocable.