If you’re considering an adoption in Missouri, there are a lot of things to consider. Perhaps the most important are the Missouri adoption laws that will apply to your situation.
Because there are no federal adoption laws beyond the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and the Indian Child Welfare Act, individual states have created their own legal regulations for the adoption process. Whatever kind of adoption you are considering, there will be certain adoption laws in Missouri to keep in mind.
Attorney Kevin Kenney can help. As an experienced adoption attorney in Missouri, he can guide you through your entire legal process of adoption. When you schedule a consultation, he will identify the Missouri adoption laws that will apply to your adoption and help you prepare for the steps ahead.
Every adoptive family and prospective birth mother must work with an adoption attorney to complete their process in Missouri. Kevin Kenney can help with the legalities of your birth parent living expenses, adoption requirements, adoption finalization and more. To find out all of the services he offers, contact his law firm today.
Below, you’ll find some basic information about the adoption laws in Missouri to prepare you for the process ahead of you. However, this article is not intended to be and should not be taken as strict legal advice; you’ll need to work with Kevin Kenney for the most accurate legal information for your adoption.
Missouri Adoption Laws on the Requirements for Adoption
According to state laws, any adult may adopt in the state of Missouri. There are no requirements for residency in order to adopt here. Hopeful parents must complete a home study investigation by a licensed Missouri professional as part of their adoption approval process (which also includes criminal records and child abuse and neglect registry checks).
Those looking to become foster parents in Missouri must also meet additional requirements, including being at least 21 years old and completing a training and assessment process prior to placement. Contact the Department of Social Services for more information about adopting a child through foster care.
Any parent can place their baby for adoption, with the assistance of a licensed child-placing agency or attorney, physician or clergy member.
Missouri Adoption Laws on Birth Parent Expenses
In a private domestic infant adoption, adoptive parents can pay for the prospective birth mother’s living expenses. These could include counseling services, pre- and post-placement study expenses, reasonable legal expenses, food and living expenses, and medical services.
These costs must be presented to the court for approval, and the court may disallow expenses it deems unreasonable or not permitted by law. Remember, it is always illegal to “pay” someone in exchange for their consent to an adoption.
Missouri Adoption Laws on Adoption Consent and Revocation
In Missouri, the mother, the man who is presumed to be the father, and the adoptive parents must give their consent for the adoption to take place. Any child being adopted who is age 14 or older must also consent to the adoption.
A mother must wait at least 48 hours after birth before giving consent for her parental rights to be terminated in adoption. A man is presumed to be the father of the child and must give his consent if he has acted to establish paternity within 15 days of the child’s birth, has filed with the putative father registry or meets the requirements set forth by Missouri adoption laws.
For more information about the birth father rights in your adoption, please contact our law firm. These Missouri adoption laws can be complicated and will vary by situation; only an experienced legal professional can navigate them for you.
Once consent for the adoption has been given, it is irrevocable. If you are a prospective birth parent, attorney Kevin Kenney will always explain the process of consent in detail and answer any questions you have before you decide to make this life-changing decision.
Missouri Adoption Laws on Finalization
Finalization usually occurs about six months after placement. Generally, it involves a court hearing in which a judge overlooks the adoption paperwork and asks questions to determine whether the adoption is in the best interest of the child. If you are a new adoptive parent, you will need to attend this hearing. Birth parents are usually not required to attend a finalization hearing.
Attorney Kevin Kenney can represent adoptive parents through this final step in their journey. He will gather necessary paperwork, set up the court hearing, and be there to assist you through the hearing. He can also help you obtain a new birth certificate and other official records once your adoption certificate has been issued.
What About Missouri Adoption Records?
Sometimes, people who are curious about the adoption laws in Missouri are focused on the post-placement aspect. Specifically, they are adult adoptees or relatives of adoptees looking to access original adoption records in Missouri.
By default, Missouri adoption records are sealed after the adoption is complete. This protects the identity of the birth parents, the adoptive parents and the adoptee. However, for those who are looking for Missouri adoption birth certificates and other important adoption records, this can cause complications.
If you are interested in Missouri adoption records law, you can always schedule a consultation with attorney Kevin Kenney. He can explain the process of obtaining adoption records in Missouri and help you get started when you’re ready. The assistance of an adoption attorney can be extremely helpful in Missouri adoption records searches regarding an older or more complicated adoption.
This article just tackles the basics of Missouri adoption laws — so it’s important that you work with an attorney in your personal journey. How these laws are applied can vary from situation to situation, and only an experienced lawyer can protect your interests if you choose to pursue adoption in Missouri.
Let Kevin Kenney help. Contact him today at 913-671-8008 to get started.