Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption - Montana

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Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-1-106; 42-4-302; 42-4-402

The following persons may adopt:

  • A husband and wife jointly
  • A stepparent
  • An unmarried individual who is age 18 or older
  • A married person singly who is age 18 or older and who is legally separated or whose spouse is incompetent

A stepparent may adopt the minor child of the stepparent's spouse if any of the following apply:

  • The spouse has legal and physical custody of the child, and the child has been in the physical custody of the spouse and the stepparent during the 60 days preceding the filing of a petition for adoption.
  • The spouse is deceased or mentally incompetent but, before dying or being judicially declared mentally incompetent, had legal and physical custody of the child, and the child has resided primarily with the stepparent during the 12 months preceding the filing of the petition.
  • The Department of Public Health and Human Services or an agency placed the child with the stepparent.

For good cause shown, a court may allow an individual who is not the stepparent but who has the consent of the custodial parent of a child to file a petition for adoption. The petition must be treated as if the petitioner were a stepparent.

An adult may adopt another adult or an emancipated minor pursuant to this section. However, an adult may not adopt the adult's spouse. An adoption of an incompetent individual of any age must comply with all requirements set by law for the adoption of a child.

Who May Be Adopted

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-1-105; 42-4-401; 42-4-302

A child who is legally free for adoption may be adopted. A child is legally free for adoption if any of the following apply:

  • The child does not have a living parent.
  • The parental rights of the living parents of the child have been terminated.
  • The living parents, the child's guardian, or the department or agency with custody of the child consent to the adoption.

A person who has reached the age of legal majority may be adopted without the consent of the person's parents.

A stepparent may file a petition for adoption of a minor child of the stepparent's spouse.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code § 42-1-107

A child may be placed for adoption only by the following:

  • The department or agency to which the child has been relinquished or has been authorized to place the child
  • The child's parents
  • A guardian expressly authorized by the court to place the child for adoption