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Dealing With Issues of Biological Parents’ Consent to Adoption

When it comes to adoption, the issue of biological parents’ consent is of utmost importance. The termination of parental rights is a serious decision, and the law sets requirements to safeguard the rights of the biological parents while at the same time seeking to protect the best interests of the child.

Under New Jersey law, the biological parents’ consent to adoption must be in writing and be confirmed by a judge or other court official. Both parents must give their consent unless one parent is deceased, has abandoned the child, has voluntarily surrendered parental rights or has had parental rights terminated by court order.

The biological father’s consent to adoption is crucial even when the child’s parents are unmarried. According to the state statute, the birth father’s consent is required if he has had a substantial relationship with the child or has been actively fulfilling his parental duties. The law recognizes the rights of biological fathers involved in their child’s life and aims to prevent any involuntary termination of their parental rights.

There are circumstances where a biological parent’s consent to an adoption may not be necessary. If a court determines that a parent has willfully abandoned the child or has been guilty of abuse, neglect or other mistreatment, the court may waive the consent requirement. This provision protects children from unfit parents and ensures their well-being remains the top priority in adoption proceedings.

The statute provides an exception to obtaining the consent of a noncustodial biological parent in a case of adoption by a step-parent. If the court determines that the noncustodial parent has failed to fulfill their parental obligations or has abandoned the child, their consent may be deemed unnecessary. This provision streamlines the adoption process in cases where the step-parent has assumed a significant parental role and seeks to establish a legal and stable relationship with the child.

A problem arises if a biological parent refuses to give consent where it is necessary. Putting any form of pressure on that parent to gain consent, including offering payment, is unlawful and could invalidate the adoption. It may be possible to find a negotiated solution, such as entering an agreement to give the biological parent a right to visitation under controlled circumstances. However, such agreements must be carefully crafted to so that they are practical to carry out and ultimately serve the child’s best interests.

If you are involved in an adoption proceeding that may require a biological parent’s consent, a family law attorney experienced in adoptions can be of invaluable assistance.

At the Law Offices of Kisha M. Hebbon in Somerset, New Jersey, we will guide you through the adoption process, protect your rights and advocate compassionately in your behalf. Please call us today at 732-873-6464 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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