Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - Alabama

Date: August 2022


Citation: Code of Ala. § 12-15-102

A child may be adjudicated to be a 'dependent child' when the child has been placed for care or adoption in violation of the law.

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Code of Ala. §§ 26-10A-12; 26-10A-33; 26-10A-36

All relinquishments of a child for adoption shall be signed or confirmed before any of the following:

  • A judge or clerk of any court that has jurisdiction over adoption proceedings or a public officer appointed by the judge to take consents
  • A person appointed to take consents by any agency that is authorized to conduct investigations or home studies
  • A notary public

Only a parent, a parent of a deceased parent, a relative of the degree of relationship specified in § 26-10A-28, the Department of Human Resources, a licensed child-placing agency, or an agency approved by the department may place a minor for adoption. No person or entity other than the department or a licensed child-placing agency shall engage in the business of placing minors for adoption. Any person or entity making more than two unrelated placements of minors for adoption within the preceding 12-month period shall be deemed to be in the business of placing minors for adoption.

It shall be unlawful for any person, organization, corporation, partnership, hospital, association, or agency to advertise verbally, through print, electronic media, or otherwise that they will do the following:

  • Adopt children or assist in the adoption of children in violation of this chapter
  • Place or assist in the placement of children in foster homes, group homes, or institutions in violation of this chapter
  • Pay or offer money or anything of value to the parents of a child in violation of § 26-10A-34


Citation: Code of Ala. § 26-10A-33

This section does not intend to make it unlawful for any person not engaged in the business of placing minors for adoption to give advice and assistance to a natural parent in an adoption. In making adoption arrangements, potential adopting parents and birth parents are entitled to the advice and assistance of legal counsel.


Citation: Code of Ala. §§ 26-10A-33; 26-10A-36

Upon the first conviction, any other person who places a minor for adoption is guilty of a class A misdemeanor and upon subsequent convictions is guilty of a class C felony.

Any unlawful advertising of a child for adoption shall be punished as a class A misdemeanor.