Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices
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and when he is old,
he will not depart
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Proverbs 22:6

Consent in adoption proceedings

Some parents may not be able to provide for their children the way they would have dreamed of, and, in order to ensure their children get the very best they possibly can, they make the difficult decision to put their children up for adoption. Last time on the Dallas Family Law Blog, readers were given a brief overview of who can adopt a child. But it is equally important to know who can put a child up for adoption; i.e. relinquish their rights and duties with respect to the child in question, and allow someone else to legally assume that responsibility.

Perhaps the most important issue to tackle in the adoption procedure is consent. Consent, in this situation, refers to the unforced agreement by the parent, legal guardian or agency acting in place of the parent to give up parenting rights. Primary parenting rights fall upon the birth parents and therefore they hold the primary right to consent to adoption. However, in some situations where one or both parents have terminated their parental rights due to a variety of reasons, including abandonment and mental incompetence, other legal entities can assume the legal responsibility to consent. These entities can include the person or agency who has custody of the child, or has been given jurisdiction over the child by a court. Older children are also required to give consent, and the age varies from state to state.

Consent can be given either at the time of birth, or after a legally mandated waiting period after the birth.

Once consent is given however, it can be withdrawn only in very limited circumstances. The aim of an adoption is to provide children with a secure and stable household and that purpose would be defeated if it were easy to revoke consent. Therefore, a validly executed consent is irrevocable unless a few limited situations arise, such as it was obtained by fraud or duress, or the birth and adoptive parents both agree to the withdrawal of consent.

Deciding to relinquish parental rights is a difficult decision to take, but most parents want what is best for their children, and adoption may be one way of guaranteeing that happens. It is important to ensure the legalities are taken care of in a proper manner so that there are no problems in the future, and an experienced attorney may be able to assist Dallas parents considering this option.

Source: FindLaw, http://family.findlaw.com/adoption/consent-to-adoption-introduction.html accessed Feb. 16, 2015

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