Consent to Termination of Parental Rights

A consent is a document signed by a parent in front of a notary, two witnesses who are not the adoptive parent(s) or the adoptive parent(s)’ attorney or the Judge handling the adoption. The document tells the Court that the parent is willing to have his or her rights. The consents can be either a specific or general consent.

  • Specific – parent consents to a certain individual or couple adopting child
  • General – parent consents to anyone adopting the child

In Missouri, consents cannot be signed before the child is 48 hours old. This is deemed the cooling off period. In other states, the time frames vary. The consent can be presented to the Court in two different court cases – termination of parental rights filed by either the Juvenile Office or the Children’s Division or an adoption.

It is important that your knows that the consent that is going to be filed in an adoption expires within six (6) months from the date of the signature.

Consent are required to be signed by the following people in adoptions of children under 18 years:

  • The mother of the child;
  • 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

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

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.