Missouri Adoption Laws title

A Complete Guide to Understanding the Complex Missouri Adoption Laws

Missouri adoption laws are fairly similar to the laws in other states. These rules govern who can adopt someone and how the process works.

Summer Masterson-Goethals
Masterson Law
(417) 522-1280
1771 S. Fremont
Springfield, MO 65804

Understanding the Missouri Adoption Laws

There are many reasons people might need to have a better understanding of Missouri adoption laws. Perhaps a family has been unable to conceive, they want to provide a sibling for their existing children, or they merely wish to give a loving home to a child without one. Maybe you, as the birth parents feel financially insecure, incapable, or otherwise unable to provide the loving home your new infant deserves. Regardless of why you are considering adoption (whether it is on the giving or receiving end), it is vital to seek the services of an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable with Missouri adoption laws.

Perhaps you plan to adopt children from the state of Missouri, a child whose birth occurred in another country, or begin your adoption journey with foster care. Whether you choose to work with an adoption agency, family services, or try to become adoptive parents on your own, you should seek a sympathetic attorney from Masterson Law to ensure a smooth adoptive process. Then, you and your adopted child may begin your beautiful life together.

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Depending on the Circumstances, Adoption Laws Missouri Can Be Complex

Search for legal counsel who is skilled in family law, including adoption laws in Missouri. Besides the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and the Indian Child Welfare Act, there are no federal regulations regarding the adoption process in the state of Missouri. In fact, individual states have produced their own legal policies and resources specifying the methods and care parents must follow to adopt a child properly. 

 

There Are No Specific Missouri Adoption Age Requirements if You Adopt Independently

When seeking to become an adoptive parent or embrace a child in foster care, the Missouri adoption age requirements are lenient. If you choose to use one, the adoption agency from which you obtain services may restrict the ages to between 22 and 50. Age requirements differ based on the adoption services you are pursuing, and exceptions might be made on a case-by-case basis. You may adopt independently, which merely requires that you legally be an adult. An attorney who knows the Missouri adoption laws can provide additional information.

 

There Are No Missouri Adoption Marital Requirements

Although there are no marital requirements to become an adoptive parent in Missouri, in some situations, it may help. If you decide to work with an adoption agency, you might find that they will only consent to adoption assistance if you maintain a specified and stable relationship.

Missouri adoption laws also do not insist that foster parents be wed or that they have other children. Consult with an attorney to learn more.

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Facts Regarding the Process for Adoption in Missouri

According to the process for adoption in Missouri, both birth parents must consent: the birth mother and the putative father – this is the man who claims paternity – need to provide consent for the adoption to occur. In addition to each birth parent, the consent is also required by any child over the age of 14 facing adoption.

The birth mother must wait a minimum of 48 hours after the child is born before offering consent to adoption for her parental rights to end. In the state of Missouri, the presumed father must consent to the adoption if he did any of the following:

  • Established paternity within 15 days of the child’s birth
  • Satisfied the requirements stated by Missouri adoption laws
  • Filed with the putative father registry

A man may also decide to place his name on the putative father registry to ensure his parental rights are reserved, especially if he believes that his child’s mother will attempt to consent to the adoption against his will. He will then be notified if a state of Missouri adoption is initiated. This allows him to contest it because once approval for the adoption has been provided, it is irreversible. If there is a dispute, you will require child custody lawyers experienced in Missouri Family Court.

 

The Process to Become Adoptive Parents Can Be a Difficult One Without Legal Assistance

The process to become adoptive parents generally begins by completing and filing adoption forms, which can be found here. Be advised that for state of Missouri households considering adopting a child from another country, the requirements to do so will differ by nation.

In many cases, and with the assistance of a confident attorney, adoptions in Missouri are straight-forward. 

Along with the consent of the birth parents, would-be adoptive parents will be subjected to the following by a certified Missouri specialist to ensure that they can provide safe and nurturing child care:

  • Home study investigation
  • Criminal record check
  • Child abuse and negligent registries check

Although having a felony on your record does not always disallow you from adopting a child from foster care, if it includes the abuse or neglect, domestic violence, or sexual attack, you will be unlikely to adopt. Otherwise, the court may determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Finalization of the adoption Missouri process typically takes place about six months after filing. The Missouri Department of Social Services, family services, and a reputable attorney are additional valuable resources in the adoption process.

 

Adult Adoption FAQS

Although it is far less common, occasionally, a family will adopt an individual over the age of 18. The most typical factor for this type of adoption is to satisfy inheritance factors. It is usually done by a step-parent and permits somebody to leave their home, investments, or other monetary properties to the adopted individual more easily. 

Another reason is for the adult adoptee to make it easier for him or her to care for an aging or impaired parental figure.

Keep in mind, it is prohibited to “pay” somebody in exchange for their willingness to grant an adoption.

Generally, when parties grant an adult adoption in Missouri, it simply ends up being a matter of submitting the correct types of paperwork. Although you can do this yourself without a legal representative, if it is part of a larger plan like estate planning or guardianship, you will want to retain a lawyer to begin a relationship with. 

This can assist you with your adult adoption in Missouri by preparing all the forms you require to handle all elements of the adoption, as well as the other aspects that you need to be handled like further estate planning or conservatorship. A knowledgeable attorney will likewise provide you with additional guidelines and address your concerns throughout the process. 

Missouri forms can be finished online, however, to prepare particular types of MO adult adoption paperwork, as well as receive guidelines on submitting them, it is beneficial to hire a skilled adoption attorney. When she finishes the documents, she will have you sign and submit them.

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The Process of Finding Missouri Adoption Records

Birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children from foster care may have an interest in Missouri adoption records. After a child’s birth, their birth parents can put him or her up for adoption. This is usually with the help of one of these individuals or agencies:

  • Family services
  • Lawyer
  • Licensed child-placing agency
  • Member of the clergy
  • Physician
  • Social services

According to Missouri adoption laws, once a child has been adopted, the records, including the original birth certificate, are sealed. This keeps the identity of the birth parents, as well as the adoptive parents and the adoptee secure. Often adult adoptees or their family members seek access to their original adoption records or birth certificate in Missouri. Legal assistance may be helpful.

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How Do You Find Missouri Adoption Records Online?

If you have an interest in Missouri adoption records online, you may have options. The Missouri Children’s Division offers the Adoption Information Registry. It allows adoptees over the age of 18, their birth parents, and biological adult siblings to fill out forms found here. Any of the interested parties should submit individual forms indicating a wish to contact each other.

The Registration Forms should be sent via mail in an envelope marked “Confidential” to:

Missouri Children’s Division

Adoption Information Registry

PO Box 88

Jefferson City, MO 65103

In many cases, this registry has reunited birth parents and other willing family members decades after the adoption has occurred.

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What Is the Cost of Adoption in Missouri?

The cost of adoption in Missouri varies on an individual case-by-case basis. In a personal domestic baby adoption, adoptive parents can agree to pay for the care and expenses of the potential birth parents. This might include:

  • Counseling
  • Food and living expenses
  • Legal costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Pre-assessments
  • Post-assessments
  • Utilities
  • Transportation

Since Missouri adoption laws prohibit people from charging for adoption, the court may decline to allow these expenses. 
It is important to realize that any adoption is liable to face complications. The birth mother may experience regrets before the adoption is complete. The birth father may only be discovered at a later date. It is necessary to have a responsible and sympathetic counselor in this sensitive time of your life as you embrace an expansion to your family. Contact Masterson Law for advice and advocacy.

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Summer Masterson-Goethals
Consumer and family lawyer, former legal aid attorney and Missouri Bar Leadership Academy member, Springfield Business Journal 40 under 40 Honoree. Site Map

Masterson Law
3030 E. Battlefield, Suite A
Springfield, MO 65804
(417) 522-1280

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