Consent to Termination of Parental Rights

• A document signed by a parent in front of a notary, two witnesses who are not the adoptive parent(s) or their attorney or the Judge handling the adoption

• Tells the Court you are willing to have your rights terminated
• Can either be specific or general

o Specific – you are consenting to a certain individual or couple adopting your child

o General – you are consenting to anyone adoption your child

• In Missouri, cannot be signed before the child is 48 hours old (cooling off period)
• Expires within six months
• Required to be signed by the following people in adoptions of children under 18 years:

o The mother of the child;
o Any man who:

(a) Is presumed to be the father pursuant to subdivision (1), (2), or (3) of subsection 1 of section 210.822; or

(b) Has filed an action to establish his paternity in a court of competent jurisdiction no later than fifteen days after the birth of the child and has served a copy of the petition on the mother in accordance with section 506.100; or

(c) Filed with the putative father registry pursuant to section 192.016 a notice of intent to claim paternity or an acknowledgment of paternity either prior to or within fifteen days after the child’s birth, and has filed an action to establish his paternity in a court of competent jurisdiction no later than fifteen days after the birth of the child; and

o The child’s current adoptive parents or other legally recognized mother and father.

o The person to be adopted if fourteen years of age or older, except where the court finds that such child or person has insufficient mental capacity to give the same

Can a birth parent change their mind and take the child back?

In Missouri, a birth parent cannot revoke a consent if it has been property obtained after it has been executed, unless the parent, prior to a final decree of adoption, alleges and proves by clear and convincing evidence that the consent was not freely and voluntarily given. The burden of proof is upon the consenting parent. Therefore, it is very important that the consent be properly drafted and taken in a proper manner to allow for very little risk to the adoptive parents. It is also important for your attorney to be familiar with any requirements of the particular court that will handle the adoption. Also, it is very important that consents be taken from all necessary persons or that parental rights are dealt with in some other proper legal manner. In some cases, a parent is not available to sign a consent whether due to absence or death which will require the attorney to take specific steps depending upon the circumstances.