What are the Requirements for Adoption Requests in Maryland?
The legal process of adoption in Maryland involves many steps and requirements. Part of this stems from the rights of a natural parent. Absent extreme circumstances, a child’s natural parents — or their custodians or guardians — must consent to an adoption. Furthermore, the new adopting parents must go through a lengthy process to verify that adoption is in the best interests of the child or children involved.
In order to finalize this process the adopting parents must prepare, verify and sign a petition for adoption. Under Maryland law a petition for adoption must feature certain required contents and exhibits. Otherwise, the Maryland courts will not approve the adoption request.
Required Contents of a Petition for Adoption
Under Maryland Rule 9-103, a petition for adoption must include certain information — referred to legally as the contents. The adopting parents must include a lot of content under Rule 9-103, including but not limited to:
- Name, address, age and job of each adopting parent;
- Birth date and place, name and sex of the child to be adopted;
- Existing relationship between the child and each adopting parent, if any;
- Name, address and age of the child’s natural parents;
- Method through which the adopting parents located the child to be adopted;
- Name, address and age of the adopting parent(s) existing children, if any;
- Criminal records of each adopting parent, if applicable;
- Name, address and age of any person who has or had legal custody over the child to be adopted; and
- Statement of compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), if applicable.
Required Exhibits for a Petition for Adoption
Rule 9-103 also requires adopting parents to attach to their petition certain documents— referred to legally as exhibits. There are many required exhibits under Rule 9-103, including but not limited to certified copies of the:
- Child’s birth certificate or similar document;
- Marriage certificate of each adopting parent;
- Divorce judgment for either adopting parent;
- Death certificate of any person whose consent would be required for adoption; and
- Order concerning the child’s legal custody or guardianship.
Outside of the certified copies listed above Rule 9-103 requires the adopting parents to provide additional exhibits, including but not limited to:
- A copy of any existing home study report from a licensed child placement agency, detailing the adopting parents’ criminal background reports and child abuse clearances;
- A document detailing the yearly income of each adopting parent;
- The original versions of the parental consent and affidavit documents required for adoption; and
- A medical report from a licensed physician that details the health status of each adopting parent.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about the adoption process in Maryland, it can be exceedingly beneficial to consult with a trusted family law attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered in Bel Air, Maryland, have more than 55 years of combined legal experience in matters of criminal defense and family law, including the legal process of adoption. If you need legal help, contact us for an initial consultation.