Birth Mother Rights: Cutting the Legal Cord
Monday, September 23, 2019
Written by Norman A. Green
In the case of adoption, the birth mother must wait 48 hours after delivery to surrender her newborn, or she may do so on the day she is discharged from the hospital, whichever comes first. The father may waive parental rights at any time by signing an Affidavit of Nonpaternity or consenting to the adoption in writing. After the child is at least six months of age, the parents can abdicate rights at any time, and give the child to the adoptive parents, but relinquishment is subject to a revocation period of three business days. Once consent is given, it is unlikely to be revoked unless under extreme circumstances.
“Examples where consent might be revoked include cases where the birth parents can prove coercion, that they gave up their parental rights against their will. When surrender is voluntary, it’s nearly impossible to regain rights regardless of biology. That is the rationale behind the built-in waiting periods – to give the biological parents time to consider their decision carefully. In most cases, there is no going back,” said Norman A. Green, Senior Partner at Green and Metcalf - Attorneys at Law of Vero Beach, FL.
Post-adoption contact agreements, known as open adoption, are more common now than in the past. The term “open” can mean whatever the birthparent(s) and adoptive parent(s) decide. Agreements are as individual as the people themselves, and can be tailored so all parties are comfortable with the arrangement.
“Everyone involved must seriously consider how much interaction they’re comfortable with post-adoption. In some situations, contact with the birth parents is a rewarding extension of the child’s family. At the very least, providing adopting parents access to medical history is a huge benefit. In other situations, the birth mother may not wish her identity released at all. It’s a case-by-case situation, and adopting parents should consult legal counsel in this delicate decision,” Green said.
Norman A. Green is the founder and a partner of Green & Metcalf - Attorneys At Law. He has over 40 years of experience in the practice fields of criminal defense and family law (divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, modifications of existing orders, prenuptial agreements and alimony cases).