SCS/SB 943 - This act modifies various provisions relating to adoption and parental rights.
DEFINITION OF PARENT (Section 211.422)
This act modifies the definition of "parent" under the juvenile court provisions to mean a biological parent or parents who have a parent and child relationship, the presumed father of a child, the acknowledged father when establishing parentage of children born to both married and unmarried couples, the adjudicated parent under Chapter 210, as well as a parent or parents of a child by adoption. Parent shall also include the putative father of a child who has before the birth or within 15 days of the birth of the child (1)established a consistent and substantial relationship with the child including providing prenatal financial support and (2) filed a parentage action and properly served notice upon the mother.
CONSENT OR WAIVER OF CONSENT FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS (Section 211.444)
This act adds court appointed guardian ad litems to the list of persons who may petition the court for the termination of parental rights or to approve the consent to adoption or waiver of consent to adoption by a parent. The court shall grant such petitions if a court finds that the termination or consent to adoption or waiver of consent to adoption is in the best interests of the child and the parent has consented in writing to the termination of his or her parental rights or consented or waived consent to the adoption.
This provision is similar to HB 1994 (2012) and to HCS/HB 1137 (2012); and HCS/HB 252 (2013).
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR ADOPTION (SECTION 453.010)
This act modifies the provisions regarding petitions for adoptions to require any such person to petition the Missouri court in the county in which the person seeking to adopt resides or within 150 miles of such county, in the county in which either birth person resides or within 150 miles of such county or in the county where the placing agency or intermediary has offices.
This provision is similar to a provision in HCS/HB 717 (2013) and to HCS/HB 252 (2013).
ESTABLISHMENT OF A CONSISTENT FATHER-CHILD RELATIONSHIP (Section 453.040 and 453.045)
Under this act, a man whose consent to adoption is waived or not required still preserves his rights to intervene in an action for termination of parental rights, an adoption action or a paternity action even after a petition for either adoption or termination of parental rights has been filed with the court, if he can prove that he has previously developed a consistent and substantial relationship with the child commensurate with his means and abilities. The act lists such methods of proof including evidence of providing his share of consistent prenatal financial support and consistent prenatal and natal medical care for the mother and baby and consistent contact and visitation with the child.
OUT OF STATE ADOPTIVE PETITIONERS (Section 453.080.1 and 2)
This act allows out of state adoptive petitioners to appear by their attorney and by video conference rather than in persons so long as the child appears by video conference or in person.
POST ADOPTIVE CONTACT AGREEMENTS (Section 453.080.4 and 5)
Prospective adoptive parents and the parents of a prospective adoptee may enter into a written contract agreement to allow contact after the adoption between parents, siblings, or other relatives of the adoptee and the adoptee and the adoptive parents. Any agreement is at the discretion of the adoptive parents, shall be in writing and signed by the parties to the agreement, and must be made part of the court record. The court shall enforce an agreement unless to do so is not in the best interest of the adoptee.
This provision is similar to a provision in HB 1994 (2012).
TEMPORARY PLACEMENT OF PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE CHILD PENDING TRANSFER OF CUSTODY
This act allows for the temporary placement of a prospective adoptive child from a birth parent to the adoptive parents under a proper power of attorney pending a court-ordered transfer of custody. (Section 453.110)
This act is substantially similar to provisions contained in SCS/HCS/HB 1231 (2014).