Topic:
ADOPTION; TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS;
Location:
ADOPTION;

OLR Research Report


September 13, 2004

 

2004-R-0661

ADOPTION: BIRTH MOTHERS' RIGHTS TO REVOKE CONSENT

By: Susan Price, Principal Analyst

You asked how Connecticut adoption law, especially the time limits for birth mothers to revoke consent, compares with other states.

In all states, the birth mother and father, if he has properly established paternity, hold the primary right of consent to adoption of their child. Either or both may have these rights terminated for reasons such as abandonment, failure to support the child, or abuse and neglect.

Approximately 46 states and the District of Columbia specify in statute when a birth parent may consent to adoption. Usually, birth fathers can give consent at any time, while the birth mother cannot consent until after the child is born. Fifteen states allow consent at any time after the birth, while 29 have waiting periods, ranging from 12 hours to 15 days. The most common waiting period is 72 hours (15 states); in Connecticut, it is 48 hours. Alabama and Hawaii permit birth mothers to consent to adoption before the child is born, but they must reaffirm consent after birth.

Consent becomes final and irrevocable once the court issues a final decree of adoption in all states. Five states make no provision for revocation of consent, and 23 allow revocation under limited circumstances – generally when there is strong evidence of fraud, duress, undue influence, coercion, or misrepresentation. Several states have specific time periods, ranging from three to 21 days, when revocation is allowed for any reason. In other states, revocation requires the mutual consent of the adopting family or a court finding that revocation is in the child's best interest. And some states permit reconsideration of consent if an adoptive placement is not made with a specified family or within a specific period of time. In Connecticut, a birth parent can file a petition to set aside an order voluntarily terminating parental rights any time before the entry of the final adoption decree.

Table 1 lists revocation standards for birth mothers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Table 1: Birth Mother Revocation of Consent to Adopt

Prior to Entry of Final Decree

State

Allowable Reasons

Alabama

Ala. Code 26-10A-13 and 26-10A-14

● For any reason within 5 days after childbirth or signing of consent

● Within 14 days if court finds it consistent with the child's best interest

● Any time prior to the final adoption decree for fraud, duress, undue influence, or mistake

Alaska

Alaska Stat. 25.23.040

● For any reason within 10 days of signing consent

● After 10 days and up to the entry of a final decree, if court finds it in the child's best interest

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. 8-106(D)

● Fraud, duress, or undue influence

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. 9-9-209

● For any reason within 10 days after childbirth or giving consent, whichever is later

California

Cal. Fam. Code 8814.5 and 8700

● In direct placements, parents have 30 days to submit a signed revocation or sign a waiver of the right to revoke consent

In agency adoptions, consent may only be revoked by mutual consent unless the birth parent has specified an adoptive parent and that placement is not finalized; then the parent has 30 days to seek court approval of revocation

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. 19-5-104(7)(a)

● If, within 90 days after entry of an order terminating parental rights, the parent establishes by clear and convincing evidence that consent was obtained by fraud or duress

Connecticut

CGS 45a-719

● Petition to set aside voluntary termination of parental rights may be filed any time before the final adoption decree; court must consider the child's best interests

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. Tit. 13 909

● For any reason within 60 days after filing a consent petition

District of Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. 4-1406(c)

● Automatic revocation if verified writing is submitted to the agency within 10 calendar days

Florida

Fla. Stat. Ann. 63.082

● Consent for adoption of child who is placed with identified prospective adoptive parent(s) may be withdrawn only upon finding of fraud or duress

● In other cases, if child is at least 6 months old, within 3 days or any time prior to placement, whichever is later, unless consent was obtained by fraud or duress

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. 19-809

● Any time the court finds revocation is in the child's best interest

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. 578-2(f)

● Consent cannot be withdrawn after the child is placed with prospective adopting family unless the court finds it would be in the child's best interests

Idaho

Idaho Code 16-1515

● None in statute

● If parent revokes consent, she must reimburse the prospective adoptive family for its expenses

Illinois

750 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 50/11 and 50/9

● Fraud or duress; action must be brought within 12 months

Indiana

Ind. Code Ann. 31-19-10-3 and –4

● For any reason if consent is revoked within 30 days after it was signed and court finds that the person seeking the consent is acting in the child's best interests

Iowa

Iowa Code Ann. 600.7 and 600A.4

● For any reason, if request is filed within 96 hours of consent

● After 96 hours and until entry of final adoption decree, if court finds good cause by clear and convincing evidence (e.g., fraud, coercion, or misrepresentation)

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. 59-2114

● After the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that consent was not freely and clearly given

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. 199.500

● For any reason if revocation sought within 20 days after placement approval or 20 days after consent if placement approved prior to signing consent

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. 1123 and 1130

● For any reason until the child is 6 days old

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 18-A, 9-202

● For any reason within 3 days after consent is given

● If adoption consented to is not finalized within 18 months, a review must be held

Maryland

Md. Code Ann. Fam. Law 5-311

● For any reason within 30 days

● Prospective adoptee, if age 10 or older, can revoke consent at any time before final decree is entered

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 210 3

● Consent, executed according to statutory provision, is irrevocable

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. 710.29

● Consenting party may petition court for hearing on whether to grant revocation

● Consent cannot be revoked if child has been placed for adoption unless the child was placed pending resolution of a parent's challenge of termination order and a petition for rehearing or appeal was timely filed

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. 259.24(6a) and 259.47(7)

● For any reason within 10 working days

● After 10 days and up to entry of final adoption decree, if obtained by fraud

Mississippi

No statutory provision

● Caselaw suggests that consent is irrevocable absent fraud, duress, or undue influence shown by clear and convincing evidence and considering the best interests of the child

Missouri

Mo. Ann. Stat. 453.030

● For any reason until consent is reviewed and accepted by judge

● Thereafter, if obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion (caselaw)

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. 42-2-410

● For any reason if consenting parent and prospective adopting family agree before court has terminated parental rights

Nebraska

No statutory provision

● Caselaw suggests that consent is irrevocable unless court finds that revocation is in the child's best interest or upon finding of fraud, duress, or undue influence

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. 127.080

● If consent was given less than 72 hours after childbirth and revocation is in the child's best interest

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 170-B:8 and 170-B:10

● If obtained by fraud or duress or the court finds that it would be in the child's best interest

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. 9:3-41(a)

● If executed according to statutory provisions, surrender to an agency is valid, binding, and irrevocable and constitutes a termination of parental rights

● Agency has discretion to seek revocation if consent obtained by fraud, duress, or misrepresentation

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. 32A-5-21(1)

● Fraud

New York

N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law 115-b

● In a private adoption, consent given in court is irrevocable

● Consent given outside of court can be revoked within 45 days for any reason

● In agency adoptions, consent obtained by fraud, duress, or coercion

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. 48-3-607 through 48-3-609

● For any reason within 7 days

● In direct placement (private adoption), within 5 business days if obtained by fraud or duress or upon mutual agreement with adopting parent(s)

● If parent revokes consent and later consents again, the 2nd consent is irrevocable

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code 14-15-08

● Any time before entry of final order, if court finds it in the child's best interest

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 3107.084

● At any time prior to the entry of an interlocutory (provisional) order (or final decree if no other order has been entered) and court finds revocation is in the child's best interest

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. 10-7503-2.6 and –2.7

● Fraud or duress or court finding that it is in the child's best interest

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. 109.312

● Fraud or duress with respect to any material fact surrounding the adoption procedure

Pennsylvania

23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. 2711(c)

● For any reason until the court enters either a termination order confirming consent or an adoption decree

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Stat. Ann. 15-7-21.1

● Decree of adoption or consent irrevocable unless challenged within 180 days and court finds decree not in the child's best interest

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. 20-7-1720

● If given involuntarily or under duress or coercion and court finds revocation is in the child's best interest

South Dakota

S.D. Codified Laws 25-6-21

Except in cases involving fraud, claim must be brought within 2 years after entry of initial adoption decree

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. 36-1-112 and 36-1-118

● For any reason if revocation occurs within 10 days and a judge is present

● After 10 days, if court finds reasons why the adoption should not go forward and court has not issued order confirming parental consent

● Upon finding of clear and convincing evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, or duress

Texas

Tex. Fam. Code Ann. 161.1035 and 162.011

● In private adoption, affidavit of relinquishment that fails to provide that it is irrevocable for a stated period can be revoked for any reason within 10 days of signing

● Relinquishment designating adoption agency or state child protective services as managing conservator of child is irrevocable

Utah

Utah Code Ann. 78-30-4.20

● Irrevocable upon execution, but caselaw suggests that consent may be revoked if induced by duress, undue influence, deception, or other grounds that would justify release from a contract

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15A 2-407 and 2-409

● For any reason when parent notifies the court of revocation within 21 days or prospective adoptive parent(s) agree

● Fraud or duress, or if a condition permitting revocation has occurred

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. 63.2-1204, 63.2-1223, and 63.2-1234

● For any reason until child is 25 days old and 15 days have elapsed since the execution of the entrustment agreement

● Fraud or duress or mutual written consent of birth and adoptive parents after 15 days

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. 26.33.160

● For any reason until court approves consent

● Thereafter, based on fraud, duress, or lack of mental competency if raised within 1 year

● For Native American children, revocation is permitted for any reason before entry of the final decree and for fraud or duress raised within 2 years

West Virginia

W.Va. Code Ann. 48-22-303 and

-304

● Consent may provide for conditional revocation if other required consents are not executed, or in direct placements, a petition for adoption is denied or withdrawn

● Upon mutual agreement of birth and adoptive parents or court finding that consent was obtained by fraud or duress

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. 48.46

● Mistake, newly-discovered evidence, fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct if raised within 1 year

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-22-109(d)

● Fraud or duress

● When court denies adoption due to claim of putative father, it may allow mother to withdraw consent

fn Unless otherwise noted, time limits run from the date consent was given.

Sources: U.S. Administration for Children and Families: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, May 2003; Independent review of statutes by author