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Dissecting 3 Variations of Adoption in Maryland

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The Maryland Code of Family Law institutes a multifaceted system of rules and regulations to govern the process of child adoption. These rules and regulations exist to safeguard the best interests of any children involved as well as protect parental rights from unreasonable interference. There are three types of adoption under Maryland state law: Independent, Local Department, and Private Agency.

  1. Independent Adoption

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-3B-20 details the guidelines for independent adoption. This adoption process allows competent adults to assume parental rights of a child.

Under Section 5–3B–20, a Maryland state court may grant an independent adoption if the:

  • Child’s living parents consent to adoption in writing or they fail to object in a timely fashion;
  • Child’s guardian or custodian consents;
  • Parental rights were terminated in accordance with Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-305, and the child consents (if at least 10 years old); or
  • State court orders an adoption without consent in accordance with Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5–3B–22.
  1. Local Department Adoption

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-338 establishes the regulations for local department adoption. This adoption process entitles a local department of the Maryland state government to become a child’s guardian.

Under Section 5–338, a state court may grant a local department adoption if the:

  • Child’s parents are both deceased;
  • Child’s guardian or custodian consents;
  • Parental rights were terminated in accordance with state law;
  • Child’s one parent consents, and the other parent is dead, missing, or otherwise fails to object; or
  • Child’s custodian consents, and the child consents (if at least 10 years old) or does not object (if under 10 years old).
  1. Private Agency Adoption

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5–3A–35 provides the rules for private agency adoption. This process enables private adoption agencies with appropriate licenses to facilitate child placement with third-party parents.

Under Section 5–3A–35, a state court may grant a private agency adoption if the:

  • Adoption agency consents; and
  • Child consents, if they are at least 10 years old.

It is possible to revoke consent to private agency adoption under Section 5–3A–35. The adoption agency may revoke within 14 days of:

  • Initially providing consent or
  • Filing a petition for adoption.

A child who is at least 10 years old may revoke consent at any time. Though there is a time limit. Once a Maryland state court enters a lawful order of adoption, the child may no longer revoke their consent to a private agency adoption.

Contact Us Today for Professional Help

If you have legal questions about adoption under Maryland family law, it can be vastly beneficial to consult with an accomplished family law attorney. The Bel Air adoption attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.

https://www.stclaw.net/children-conceived-without-consent-under-maryland-law/

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