Consent to Adoption - Washington

Date:

Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Rev. Code § 26.33.160

Consent to an adoption shall be required of the following, if applicable:

  • The parents and any alleged father of a child under age 18
  • An agency or the department to whom the child has been relinquished pursuant to § 26.33.080
  • The legal guardian of the child

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Rev. Code § 26.33.160

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

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.33.120; 26.33.170

Except in the case of an Indian child, the parental rights of a parent may be terminated upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interests of the child to terminate the relationship, the parent has failed to perform parental duties, and the parent is withholding consent to adoption contrary to the best interests of the child.

Except in the case of an Indian child, the parent-child relationship of an alleged father who claims paternity may be terminated upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interests of the child to terminate the relationship, that he has failed to perform parental duties under circumstances showing a substantial lack of regard for his parental obligations, that he is withholding consent to adoption contrary to the best interests of the child, or that he is not the father.

The parent-child relationship of an Indian child and his or her parent or alleged father, where paternity has been claimed or established, may be terminated only pursuant to the standards set forth in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f).

The parent-child relationship of a parent or an alleged father may be terminated if the parent or alleged father fails to appear after being notified of the hearing.

The consent of an agency, the department, or a legal guardian may be dispensed with if the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the proposed adoption is in the best interests of the child.

The consent of an alleged father, birth parent, or parent may be dispensed with if the court finds that the proposed adoption is in the best interests of the child and that the alleged father, birth parent, or parent has been found guilty of any of the following:

  • Rape, incest, or sexual assault when the child was the victim
  • Rape, incest, or sexual assault when the other parent of the child was the victim, and the child was conceived as a result

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.33.080; 26.33.160

A petition for relinquishment, together with the written consent to adoption, may be filed before the child's birth. If the child is an Indian child, the petition and consent shall not be signed until at least 10 days after the child's birth and shall be recorded before a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to 25 U.S.C. § 1913(a).

The consent will not be presented to the court until 48 hours after it is signed or 48 hours after the birth of the child, whichever occurs later. In the case of a consent to an adoption of an Indian child, no consent shall be valid unless the consent is executed in writing more than 10 days after the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.33.080; 26.33.160

A parent, an alleged father, the department, or an agency may file with the court a petition to relinquish a child to the department or an agency. The parent's or alleged father's written consent to adoption shall accompany the petition. The written consent of the department or the agency to assume custody shall be filed with the petition.

A parent, alleged father, or prospective adoptive parent may file with the court a petition to relinquish a child to the prospective adoptive parent. The parent's or alleged father's written consent to adoption shall accompany the petition. The written consent of the prospective adoptive parent to assume custody shall be filed with the petition. The identity of the prospective adoptive parent need not be disclosed to the petitioner.

The written consent to adoption shall be signed under penalty of perjury and shall state that:

  • It is given subject to approval of the court.
  • It has no force or effect until approved by the court.
  • The birth parent is or is not of Native American or Alaska Native ancestry.
  • It is revocable by the consenting party at any time before its approval by the court.
  • A written consent to adoption that meets all the requirements of this chapter but that does not name or otherwise identify the adopting parent is valid if it contains a statement that it is voluntarily executed without disclosure of the name or other identification of the adopting parent.
  • There must be a witness to the consent of the parent or alleged father. The witness must be at least age 18 and selected by the parent or alleged father. The consent document shall contain a statement identifying by name, address, and relationship the witness selected by the parent or alleged father.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Rev. Code § 26.33.160

Consent to adoption is revocable by the consenting party at any time before the consent is approved by the court. The revocation may be made in either of the following ways:

  • Written revocation may be delivered or mailed to the clerk of the court before approval.
  • Written revocation may be delivered or mailed to the clerk of the court after approval, but only if it is delivered or mailed within 48 hours after a prior notice of revocation that was given within 48 hours after the birth of the child. The prior notice of revocation shall be given to the agency or person who sought the consent and may be either oral or written.

Consent to adoption may not be revoked after it has been approved by the court. Within 1 year after approval, a consent may be revoked for fraud or duress practiced by the person, department, or agency requesting the consent or for lack of mental competency on the part of the person giving the consent at the time the consent was given. A written consent to adoption may not be revoked more than 1 year after it is approved by the court.

In the case of consent to an adoption of an Indian child, consent may be withdrawn for any reason at any time prior to the entry of the final decree of adoption. Consent may be withdrawn for fraud or duress within 2 years of the entry of the final decree of adoption.