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. Regardless of why you are considering adoption, it is vital to seek the services of an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable with Missouri adoption laws.
Perhaps you plan to adopt Missouri children, a child whose birth occurred in another country, or begin as foster parents. 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.
Adoption Laws Missouri
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. Therefore, individual states have produced their own legal policies and resources specifying the methods and care parents must follow to adopt a child properly.
Missouri Adoption Age Requirements
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.
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.
Process for Adoption in Missouri
According to the process for adoption in Missouri, both 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 reserved 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 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
The process to become adoptive parents generally begins by completing and filing adoption forms, which can be found here. Be advised that for 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. Would-be 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, 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.
Missouri Adoption Records
The birth parent, adoptive parents, and adopted child may have an interest in Missouri adoption records. After a child’s birth, their parents can put him or her up for adoption. This is usually with the help of one of these individuals or agencies:
- Family services
- Licensed child-placing agency
- Member of the clergy
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.
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 willing family members decades after the adoption has occurred.
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 potential birth mother’s care and expenses. This might include:
- Food and living expenses
- Legal costs
- Medical expenses
- Pre- and post-assessments
Since Missouri adoption laws prohibit people from charging for adoption, the court may decline to allow these expenses. Any adoption is liable to face complications. Contact Masterson Law for advice and advocacy.