UPDATE: To view the revised Ohio adoption laws, click here.
Earlier this year, Ohio’s House of Representatives approved a bill that could reduce the time and costs associated with adoption. Notably, the bill would provide increased tax credits for adoptive parents by increasing the tax credit from $1,500 to $10,000. The bill would also allow families to spread the tax credit over a five-year period, instead of the two years currently allowed under the law.
In addition, the bill is aimed at expediting the adoption process by reducing the time period to challenge an adoption. The bill would allow the birth mother, before the baby is born, to notify the father of the adoption and the father would then have 30 days to register and preserve his right to consent.
If there is no pre-birth notification, the new bill would shorten the register period for the putative father from 30 to 7 days. The bill would also seek to expedite the adoption process by significantly reducing the time period to challenge an adoption from 1 year to 60 days. After the 60 days, an adoption decree could not be questioned.
Adoption Bill Draws Support From Right To Life Activists
Recently, Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, penned an Op-Ed for the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s online website coming out in support of the new bill. Mr. Gonidakis described the bill as a “common sense and compassionate approach” because it reduces the costs and uncertainty that comes with the adoption process.
Mr. Gonidakis believes the 60-day period to challenge an adoption is short enough to assuage fears that an adopted child may be taken away, but “a period that is still long enough to address concerns if they arise.” He remarked that the bill would also speed up the adoption process by allowing the birth father to renounce or claim his parental rights before birth. Mr. Gonidakis stated that this “will offer certainty and respect to birth mothers and adoptive couples.”
Criticism From Pro-Choice Advocates
Conversely, Molly Rampe Thomas, founder of Choice Network in Columbus, published her own Op-Ed piece in opposition to the new adoption bill. While she does believe that the new bill would make adoption “better, cheaper and easier” for families, Ms. Rampe Thomas believes the new bill does “not create respect or trust for women choosing adoption” and does a disservice to men.
She believes the new bill would treat men and women differently by potentially taking the birth father’s right to consent to the adoption before the birth. Conversely, the mother has to wait until 72 hours after the adoption. Ultimately, she believes the new bill would create “a system of confusion for birth parents, not simplifying the process as proponents of the bill have stated.”
It remains to be seen if the bill will become law. House Bill 307, which passed overwhelmingly with a 77-14 vote, will now head to the Senate for consideration.
Contact a Cleveland, Ohio Family Law Attorney
If you are thinking about adopting, a Cleveland adoption attorney can help you with the legal requirements and the significant paperwork involved. The attorneys at Laubacher & Co. have extensive experience advising families on their legal rights throughout the adoption process to avoid any unnecessary delays. Contact a Cleveland adoption attorney today for a free consultation.