Who Must Consent to a Mississippi Adoption?
Before a child can be adopted in Mississippi consent to the adoption must be obtained. The Child Welfare Information Gateway defines “consent to adoption” as the agreement by a parent, or a person or agency acting in place of a parent, to relinquish a child for adoption and release all rights and duties with respect to that child. Under Mississippi Code section 93-17-5(1) consent to an adoption shall be executed by the following persons:
- The parents (or parent if there is only one parent),
- Two adult kin of the child within the third degree if both parents are dead,
- The guardian ad litem if the child has been abandoned,
- The people who have physical custody of the child (excluding foster parents),
- Any person who has been awarded custody of the child, or
- The agent of the county department of human services that placed the child in foster care.
Additionally, in some cases the child who is being adopted must also consent to the adoption before it can be finalized.
Consent of the Child Being Adopted
Nearly all states in the U.S. require that older children consent before they can be adopted. However, the age at which the child’s consent is required differs a bit from state to state. In Mississippi, if a child is 14 years old or older years at the time of their adoption then he/she is required to sign a consent to the adoption. Mississippi Code section 93-17-5(3).
When is Parental Consent Not Needed?
While the Mississippi consent laws outlined above must generally be abided by and parental consent must usually be obtained before their child can be adopted by someone else, it must be noted that under some circumstances parental consent is not needed. For example, if a child is born in Mississippi to unmarried parents the biological father is not required to consent to giving the child up for adoption if he has not demonstrated within 30 days of the child’s birth a full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood. Additionally, an adoption may be allowed despite a parent’s objection if that parent:
- Has abused the child,
- Has failed to consistently offer to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, and medical treatment of the child,
- Suffers from a medical or emotional illness, mental deficiency, behavior or conduct disorder, severe physical disability, substance abuse, or chemical dependency that renders him/her unable or unwilling to provide an adequate permanent home for the child now or in the reasonably near future,
- Has a history of engaging in conduct that would pose a risk of substantial harm to the child, or
- Has engaged in acts or omissions permitting their parental rights to be terminated.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Anyone interested in adopting a child in Mississippi should consult with a local Jackson adoption attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure that the adoption is legal and that all of the i’s have been dotted and the t’s have been crossed. One of the exceptional adoption attorneys at the office of Derek L. Hall, PC, The Heavy Hitter would be happy to discuss the ins and outs of the adoption process with you during a free initial consultation so schedule an appointment today at our Jackson office via our online contact form or by calling (601) 202-2222.