Court Jurisdiction and Venue for Adoption Petitions - Maine

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Jurisdiction

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, § 9-103; Tit. 4, § 152(5-A)

Subject to title 4, § 152(5-A), the probate court has exclusive jurisdiction over the following:

  • Petitions for adoption
  • Consents and reviews of withholdings of consent by persons other than a parent
  • Surrenders and releases
  • Termination of parental rights proceedings
  • Proceedings to determine the rights of putative parents of children whose adoptions or surrenders and releases are pending before the probate court
  • Posttermination reviews conducted pursuant to § 9-205

The district court has jurisdiction to conduct hearings pursuant to § 9-205. The district court has jurisdiction over any matter described in the subsection above if the proceeding concerns a child over whom the district court has exclusive jurisdiction pursuant to title 4, § 152(5-A).

The district court has exclusive jurisdiction of actions for guardianship, adoption, change of name, or other matters involving custody or other parental rights brought under title 18-A, if proceedings involving custody or other parental rights with respect to a minor child, including, but not limited to, adoption, divorce, parental rights and responsibilities, grandparents' rights, protective custody, change of name, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from abuse or harassment, are pending in the district court.

If the district court presiding over any matter involving custody or other parental rights with respect to a minor child becomes aware that a proceeding for guardianship, adoption, or change of name or another matter involving custody or other parental rights with respect to the minor child is pending in a probate court in this State, the district court shall notify the probate court and take appropriate action to facilitate a transfer of the matter from the probate court.

Venue

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 18-C, § 9-104

If the adopted person is placed by a licensed child-placing agency or the Department of Health and Human Services, the petition for adoption must be filed in the court in the county in which one of the following applies:

  • Where the petitioner resides
  • Where the adopted person resides or was born
  • Where an office of the agency that placed the child for adoption is located
  • Where parental rights of the child's parents have been terminated

If the child to be adopted is not placed by a licensed child-placing agency or the department, the petition for adoption must be filed in the county where the child resides or where the petitioners reside.

If, in the interests of justice or for the convenience of the parties, the court finds that the matter should be heard in another probate court, the court may transfer, stay, or dismiss the proceeding, subject to any further conditions imposed by the court.