Any parent, whether birth mother, intended parent, step-parent or otherwise, who has considered adoption must understand the risks. There are certain circumstances in which an adoption is not successful. In domestic adoptions, the birth mother and birth father have numerous rights that vary based upon the specific situation. It is important that all parties involved in an adoption understand the process and work with experienced professionals to assist. However, there are some situations that cannot be remedied and an adoption is contested.
Under Indiana law, birth parents are almost always required to give consent to the adoption of their child. A contested adoption can occur under a number of circumstances – when a birth parent contests the validity of consent documentation, alleges that consent was obtained under fraud or duress, or a birth father contends that he was never informed of the child’s birth (and not given the opportunity to retain or terminate his parental rights). In Indiana, this withdrawal of consent must occur within thirty days of the consent being signed; there may not be withdrawal of consent after an adoption decree.
In the event of a contested adoption, adoptive parents may argue that the adoption should continue, even in the absence of consent by one or both birth parents. Usually, these arguments offer grounds that the birth parents: abandoned the child, failed to communicate with the child, failed to support the child, or are generally unfit to be parents. The overarching theme of all of these arguments is that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
No matter what type of contested adoption you are involved in, the attorneys at Harden Jackson Law can help. You could be a biological father opposing the proposed stepparent adoption of your child, a would-be adoptive mother or father, or a grandparent seeking guardianship or to assert rights to custody or visitation. Understand your rights and most importantly understand what is the best for the child.