Adoptions can be one of the most happy and joyous occasions of life. We have compiled the following resources for parents seeking children as well as natural parents looking for resources.
Most times, it is a joyous occasion of the building of a new family. To start, an adoption petition is filed in the Probate Court. Many, many adoptions are done with the consent of natural parents or where their consent is not required. These are usually referred to as “uncontested” adoptions. In adoption proceedings, the person to be adopted is called the “adoptee.”
If an adoption is properly contested, the Court, after hearing evidence at a contested hearing, shall dismiss the adoption proceedings if the Court finds:
Otherwise, the Court shall deny the motion of the contesting party.
Consents by the natural mother can be signed before the birth, but only in front of a Probate Court Judge. After a child's birth, the contest can be signed in front of a Notary Public. A natural father can sign before or after birth of the child before a Notary Public. Prior to any minor parent giving consent, that is, one under 19 years of age in Alabama, a Guardian ad Litem must be appointed by the Court to represent the interests of a minor parent whose consent is required. Any minor 14 years of age or older, can nominate a Guardian ad Litem.
Under certain circumstances, the consent of a natural parent is not required, such as where the parent's parental rights have been terminated by operation of law as well as other situations.
Adoption does have an important effect on the adoptee's ability to inherit. Once a child is adopted, they can inherit from the adopting parent. The adoptee can no longer inherit from the natural parent, except when the adopting parent is a step-parent. Of course, a natural parent, from whom the adoptee would no longer inherit under the laws of intestacy, could always include the adoptee in their Will, if desired.
Some may be surprised to learn that adults can be adopted by other adults, under certain circumstances. These circumstances include: the adoptee is totally and permanently disabled, they are mentally challenged, they consent in writing to be adopted and are related in any degree of kinship or as a step-child by marriage or they consent in writing to be adopted by an adult man and woman who are husband and wife.