Helping Families Understand Ohio Adoption Laws

The laws regarding adoption are different in every state, and Ohio has very specific laws that govern the adoption process. Chances are that most prospective adoptive parents are not familiar with all of the applicable Ohio adoption laws with which they must comply in order to have their adoption go as smoothly as possible. The following is a brief overview of some of the many adoption-related laws in Ohio.

Who may be an adoptive parent?

The following people may adopt in Ohio:

  • A husband and wife together
  • An unmarried adult on their own
  • A married adult on their own if certain requirements are met

Who may be adopted?

An individual or couple may adopt the following:

  • A minor under the age of 18
  • The child of an adult spouse (stepparent adoption)
  • An adult who has a permanent disability or mental challenge

The adult does not need to have lived with the parent.

Who chooses the adoptive parents?

If an agency is the mediating party in an adoption, the agency has the right to choose the identity of the adoptive parent(s). If an attorney is the mediating party, the birth parents have the right to choose the identity of the adoptive parents.

Can a birth mother revoke her consent to the adoption?

Ohio adoption laws place restrictions on when a birth mother can withdraw her consent. She is unable to withdraw her consent after a court approves a final adoption decree. However, prior to the final order, the birth mother can revoke consent if the court agrees that the revocation is in the best interests of the child. Additionally, the birth mother may withdraw her consent for up to one year after a final order if it is deemed that her consent was given while she was under duress (i.e., she received money or gifts or other offers in return for agreeing to the adoption).

Consent is not the same as permanent surrender, though, as it is not revocable in the same way consent is.

What expenses are allowed under Ohio law?

Ohio laws allow adoptive parents to pay expenses, including hospital and medical bills, attorney or agency costs, court costs, living expenses to the birth mother during pregnancy and/or birth up to $3,000, and more. No money may be paid in exchange for the adoption to the birth mother (i.e. baby selling and buying).

These are only some of the many laws that govern adoption in Ohio. If you have any questions regarding the laws in this state, please feel free to consult with a member of our legal team.

Seek Legal Help With Your Adoption

If you are considering adopting a child, it is important that you have the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who understands all of the state laws regarding adoption. Please do not hesitate to call our office at 440-462-1882, or email us for a free initial consultation today. Our office is in Rocky River, and we serve the Cleveland area.