Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - Maine

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Definitions

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4002(1-A)

The term 'abandonment' includes any conduct on the part of the parent showing intent to forego parental duties or relinquish parental claims. The intent may be evidenced by any conduct indicating intent to forego parental duties or relinquish parental claims.

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 17-A, § 553; Tit. 18-C, § 9-313

A person is guilty of abandonment of a child if, being a parent, guardian, or other person legally charged with the long-term care and custody of a child or being a person to whom the long-term care and custody of a child has been expressly delegated, they, with the intent to avoid or divest themself of permanent parental responsibility, places the child with or transfers the physical custody of the child to a nonrelative without court approval.

A person may not do any of the following:

  • Advertise for the purpose of finding a child to adopt or to otherwise take into permanent physical custody
  • Advertise that the person will find an adoptive home or any other permanent physical placement for a child or arrange for or assist in the adoption, adoptive placement, or any other permanent physical placement of a child
  • Advertise that the person will place a child for adoption or in any other permanent physical placement
  • Advertise for the purpose of finding a person to adopt or otherwise take into permanent custody a particular child

Exceptions

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 17-A, § 553; Tit. 18-C, § 9-313

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution that the person, due to the incarceration, military service, medical treatment, or incapacity of the person, temporarily placed the child or transferred the physical custody of the child for a designated short-term period with a specific intent and time for the return of the child.

Section 9-313 does not prohibit either of the following:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services or a child-placing agency from advertising in accordance with rules adopted by the department
  • An attorney licensed to practice in this State from advertising the attorney's availability to practice or provide services relating to the adoption of children

Consequences

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 17-A, § 553; Tit. 18-C, § 9-313

The person who transfers the physical custody of the child younger than age 18 to a nonrelative without court approval commits a class D crime. The transfer of physical custody of a child younger than age 6 to a nonrelative without court approval is a class C crime.

A person who violates § 9-313 commits a civil violation for which a fine of no more than $5,000 may be adjudged.