Consent to Adoption Under Ohio Law

Consent to adoption "refers to the agreement by a parent, or a person or agency acting in place of a parent, to relinquish a child for adoption and release all rights and duties with respect to that child." Each state has different regulations governing consent to adoption. Under Ohio Law, unless an exception applies, a petition to adopt a minor may be granted only if consent is provided.

When and How to Execute Consent?

In order to give the requisite consent to adoption under Ohio law, written consent must be given by all of the following individuals:

  • The mother of the minor;
  • The father of the minor, if certain situations apply, such as if the minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;
  • The putative father of the minor;
  • Any person or agency having permanent custody of the minor or authorized by court order to consent; and
  • A minor more than 12 years of age, unless the court determines consent is not necessary.

A putative father is someone who may be a child's father, but is not married to the child's mother on or before the date that the child is born, or someone who has not established paternity of the child in a court proceeding before the filing of an adoption petition for the child. A putative father is required to register with Ohio's Putative Father Registry within 30 days of the birth of the minor, otherwise a child may be adopted without the putative father's consent.

If consent is required to an adoption proceeding, Ohio law mandates certain requirements must be followed to properly complete an adoption. Notably, consent to adoption cannot be executed until at least 72 hours after the birth of minor. This law is in place to ensure that the biological parent has sufficient time to process the recent birth of the minor and to understand the implications of giving legal custody of one's child to another family. Once consent may be given, the parent of the person to be adopted must appear before the court and complete a prescribed court form.

When is Consent Unnecessary?

Parental consent, however, is not required in every situation; there are certain exceptions. Examples include the following:

  • A parent has failed to communicate or support the minor for at least 1 year;
  • Parental rights have been terminated; or
  • A parent who is married to the petitioner and supports the adoption.

This, however, is not an exhaustive list. Importantly, the Ohio legislature enacted changes last year to law for when consent is unnecessary. Specifically, Ohio changed the required time period for when a putative father must register from 30 days to 15 days. If the putative father fails to register with the putative father registry within 15 days after the minor's birth, the putative father's consent is unnecessary to the adoption. The new law does not go in effect until 23 March 2015.

Contact a Cleveland Adoption Attorney For Advice

If you have questions regarding the adoption process in Ohio or when consent is or is not required, an experienced Cleveland adoption attorney can help you understand the adoption process. Laubacher & Co. employs a team of knowledgeable attorneys who have extensive experience helping families through the adoption process to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

In addition to adoption law services, Laubacher & Co.'s attorneys are experienced in a variety of family law issues. From marital agreements to divorce proceedings (and everything in between), Laubacher & Co. can help you with all your family law needs. Contact one of our experienced Cleveland adoption and family law attorneys for a free initial consultation. You can call us at 440-356-5700 or visit with one of our attorneys at 20525 Center Ridge Road, Suite 626, Cleveland, OH 44116.

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