The Adoption Process in Missouri:
What You Need to Know.
When considering adoption you already have a lot questions running through your mind.
Most people entering an adoption pursuit are first time adopters, and are in completely unknown territory.
It can be a scary process, but more importantly it is an exciting process.
We want you to be able to focus on the exciting part of this journey.
In this section we will answer some basic, and frequently asked questions by individuals or family's who are interested in pursuing adoption in Missouri, in an attempt to help ease some of the worries you may have when starting the process, or throughout the process as a whole.
Overview of Missouri Adoption Laws:
Federal law does not regulate the adoption legal processes. There have been attempts to make adoption laws more consistent across the country with federal acts, however states have not been able to come together, and agree on uniformed legislation regarding adoption.
Therefore, in the United States, state laws have the final say in adoption pursuits. Due to the lack of uniformity across the country, legal adoptions have a tendency to be a daunting process.
In Missouri adoption there are many boxes that must be checked before adoption rights can be granted.
These range from the age at which a child can consent to adoption, or is needed for adoption.
Missouri adoption law also includes specific prerequisites for the adults/potential adoptive parents who are attempting to adopt a child.
One factor included in these prerequisites is particular living space or home residency criterion that must be met before adoption rights are granted to the adults/prospective parents in Missouri.
What Requirements Do I Need to Meet to Adopt in Missouri?
- Be an adult over the age of 21
- Be able to prove you have a stable income
- Be able to prove you are in good physical and mental health
- Complete a training and assessment process
- Allow the child you are attempting to adopt to live full time in your home residency for a minimum of 6 months. (It is possible that this requirement can be waived by the state of Missouri in cases the court/judge sees fit.)
- Pass a child abuse and criminal record background check. This background check includes fingerprints.
- Be willing to work with the child's birth family, in cases where this is applicable
- If the child is 14 years or older, you must obtain the child's consent to being adopted by you, or you and your spouse.
*One of the more strange state laws within Missouri adoption is that; an adoption will not be delayed on the basis of race or national origin; however, the placement of the child being adopted will be prioritized by ethnic and racial compatibility, in any case where it is possible.
Nearly all of the Missouri adoption laws/rules and prerequisites; are applicable to adults who are interested in becoming foster parents as well.
Missouri Adoption FAQ's:
Q: How Do My Spouse and I Both File for Adoption?:
A: The court will issue a "joinder", if both parties meet the list of requirements above. A "joinder" is a legal term, defined as "the joining together of several parties all in one lawsuit, provided that the legal issues and the factual situation are the same for all plaintiffs and defendants."
Q: Who Can Be Adopted in Missouri?
A: Technically anyone, of any age, as long as there is consent when required.
Q: What is the Court or State Agency will I be working with?
A: The state agency in charge of Missouri adoptions is the Missouri Department of Social Services, and the division within the agency is Family Services. The Court you will be working with is the Missouri Juvenile Division of Circuit Court of the county in which you reside, or the child resides, or was born in.
Q: What is the Statute of Limitations to Challenge a Legal Adoption in Missouri?
A: In Missouri, a party wanting to challenge a legal adoption ruling has one year to do so, according to the statute of limitations in Missouri adoption law. After that, there is no legal standing to challenge the legal adoption ruling of the court.
Q: Can felons adopt in Missouri?
A: This is all dependent on the type of felony you have been charged with. If the felony is violent or has anything to do with children, the answer for most cases is no. However, when pursuing adoption in Missouri the Division of Family services will complete a home study. The person conducting the study will talk to you about your conviction and evaluate whether you have rehabilitated yourself and are an appropriate person to be considered for adopting a child.
Q: When can a birth mother consent to adoption in Missouri?
A: The birth mother is legally allowed to consent for the adoption of her child after 48 hours of the baby's is birth in accordance to Missouri state law.
Q: When can a birth mother withdraw her consent to her birth child's adoption in Missouri?
A:The birth mother is legally allowed to withdraw her consent at any point, up until the court has approved her consent to adoption. This process must take place within three business days in accordance with Missouri law.
Disclosure: All state laws are subject to change through legislation/ballot initiatives or even rulings in high courts with precedence over state courts, (meaning federal courts). However, all information within this post are current with the Missouri adoption laws as of May 2021.
Are You Adopting or Considering Adopting a Child in Missouri?
Schedule a Consultation With a Joshua Wilson Law Firm Attorney Today
It is no secret that the process of adopting a child legally is an incredibly complex, and confusing task to take on.
Each adoption has specific qualities, and the legal policy surrounding your adoption could very well be different in many cases. This all is directly correlated to the type of adoption you are attempting.
As a potential adoptive parent, you understand more than anyone how serious the stakes in this process are, and that this will change your life, your family's life, and a child's life forever.
Since you are aware of how profound this pursuit is, you know it is important to make sure everything in this procedure goes as planned.
More than likely, you will have more and more questions throughout this process, due to its complex and high stake nature.
We believe that it is in you and your family's future's best interest to contact us, at The Joshua Wilson Law Firm today, and allow our team to answer your questions, and guide you through your journey to becoming an adoptive parent.