|SB 0202||Creates Uniform Adoption Act|
|Last Action:||02/01/95 - Hearing Conducted S Judiciary Committee|
|Effective Date:||August 28, 1995|
SB 202 - This act would repeal Missouri's existing laws on adoption and would enact the Uniform Adoption Act adopted by the Uniform Law Commissioners. The 8 Article Act tries to resolve the issues of: (1) private versus public agency adoptions; (2) confidentiality of adoption records; and (3) potential struggles between birth and adoptive parents.
ARTICLE I - GENERAL PROVISIONS This article provides the general provisions of the Uniform Adoption Act. It provides the definition section, purpose section, and lists the relationships and rights which may be severed upon the finalization of an adoption petition.
ARTICLE II - ADOPTION OF MINORS
PART 1. - PLACEMENT OF MINORS - This section determines who may place a minor for adoption. It also requires that a person placing the minor for adoption to furnish to the prospective adoptive parent(s) a written report containing information regarding the medical, psychological, education or other services regarding the minor.
PART 2. - PREPLACEMENT EVALUATION - Requires evaluation by professionals that the court recognizes as experts of prospective adoptive parents for both public and private placements. The adoptive parent(s) will receive a copy of the evaluation and may appeal a finding that states the person(s) are not suited to be parents.
PART 3. - TRANSFER OF PHYSICAL CUSTODY OF MINOR BY HEALTH CARE FACILITY - Health care facilities shall release a minor for the purpose of adoption to an individual or agency upon authorization of the birth mother. Within 48 hours after releasing a minor the health care facilities shall report to the Department of Social Services the name, address and phone number of the person who authorized the release and the name, address and phone number of the person to whom physical custody was transferred and the date of the transfer. Within 30 days after the release the person to whom physical custody was transferred shall report to the Department if any of the following as occurred: (1) filing of a petition of adoption and the name and address of the petitioner; (2) acquisition of custody of the minor by an agency and the name and address of the agency; (3) return of the minor to a parent or other person having legal custody and the name and address of that person; or (4) the transfer of physical custody to another individual and the name and address of that person.
PART 4. - CONSENT TO AND RELINQUISHMENT FOR ADOPTION - Unless consent is not required, a petition to adopt a minor may only be granted if consent to the adoption has been executed by: (1) the woman who gave birth to the minor and the man, if any, who is married to the woman; or who has been judicially determined to be the father; (2) the minor's guardian; (3) the current adoptive or other legally recognized mother and father of the minor.
Consent is not required of: (1) an individual who has relinquished the minor to an agency for the purpose of adoption; (2) an individual whose parental relationship to the minor has been determined or determined not to exist; (3) a parent who has been judicially declared permanently incompetent; (4) a man who has not been married to the woman who has executed a verified statement denying paternity; (5) the personal representative of a deceased parent's estate; or (6) a parent who has not executed a consent or a relinquishment and who fails to file an answer or an appearance in a proceeding for adoption or for termination of parental relations. If a parent executes a consent or relinquishment before the minor is seventy-two hours old, the parent may revoke consent or relinquishment within 120 hours after its execution.
ARTICLE III - JURISDICTION AND VENUE
PART 1. - JURISDICTION AND VENUE - A court in Missouri shall not have jurisdiction over the proceeding for the adoption of a minor in this state if: (1) a petition for adoption is filed in another state prior to the filing of a petition in Missouri; and (2) if the court of another state has issued a decree or order concerning the custody of a minor who may be subject to a proceeding for adoption in this state unless the court of the other state does not have continuing jurisdiction to modify the decree or order or does not have jurisdiction over a proceeding for adoption substantially in conformity with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act.
PART 2. - GENERAL PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS - Court will appoint a lawyer for any indigent, minor or incompetent individual whose parental relationship to a child may be terminated. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor adoptee in contested proceedings. Proceedings for adoption shall be heard by the court without a jury. A petitioner may not remove a minor adoptee for more than 30 days from the state without permission of the court.
PART 3. - PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF MINOR - Those people who have standing to file a petition to adopt a minor include: (1) an individual with whom the minor has been placed for adoption or who has been selected as a prospective adoptive parent; and (2) an individual with who the minor has not been placed for adoption but who has physical custody of the minor for at least 6 months prior to filing a petition of adoption.
PART 4. - NOTICE OF PENDENCY OF PROCEEDING - Notice of a proceeding for adoption must be served, within 20 days, after the petition is filed on (1) an individual whose consent to the adoption is required; (2) an agency whose consent to the adoption is required; (3) an individual who claims to be or is named as the father or possible father of the minor adoptee and whose paternity of the minor has not been judicially determined; (4) an individual other than the petitioner whose has legal or physical custody of the minor adoptee or who has a right of visitation with the minor under existing court order; (5) the spouse of the petitioner if not joined in the petition and (6) a grandparent of a minor adoptee if the grandparent's child is a deceased parent of the minor and before death the deceased parent had not executed a consent or relinquishment.
PART 5. - PETITION TO TERMINATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PARENT & CHILD - A petition to terminate the relationship between a parent or an alleged parent and a minor child may be filed in a proceeding for adoption by: (1) a parent or guardian who has selected prospective adoptive parents for a minor and who intends to place or has placed the minor with the adoptive parents; (2) a parent whose spouse has filed a petition to adopt the parent's minor child; (3) a prospective adoptive parent of the minor; or (4) an agency that has selected a prospective adoptive parent for the minor and who intends to place or has placed the minor with the adoptive parents.
PART 6. - EVALUATION OF ADOPTEE - After the petition for adoption of a minor is filed, the court shall order that an evaluation be made by a qualified individual to assist the court in determining whether the proposed adoption is in the best interest of the minor.
PART 7. - DISPOSITION HEARING; DECREE OF ADOPTION - The disposition hearing shall be set for no sooner than 90 days and no later than 180 days after the petition for adoption has been filed.
PART 8. - BIRTH CERTIFICATE - The state registrar shall issue a new birth certificate for an adoptee born in this state and furnish a certified copy of the new certificate to the adoptive parent and to an adoptee who is 12 or older. The new certificate will include the date and place of birth of the adoptee, substitute the name of the adoptive parent for the name of the individual listed as the adoptee's parent on the original certificate. The original certificate and all copies will be sealed and not subject to inspection for 99 years unless authorized by the court.
ARTICLE IV - ADOPTION OF MINOR STEPCHILD BY STEPPARENT
An individual has standing to petition to adopt a minor stepchild who is the child of the individual's spouse if: (1) the spouse has sole legal and physical custody of the child and the child has been in the physical custody of the spouse and the step-parent for 60 prior to the filing for the petition of adoption; (2) the spouse has joint legal custody of the child with the child's other parent and the child has resided primarily with the spouse and the step-parent during the 12 months prior to the filing for the petition of adoption; or (3) the spouse is deceased or mentally incompetent, but had legal and physical custody of the child and the child has resided primarily with the stepparent during the 12 months prior to the filing for the petition of adoption.
ARTICLE V - ADOPTION OF ADULTS AND EMANCIPATED MINORS
An adult may adopt another adult or an emancipated minor but an adult may not adopt his or her spouse. Consent to the adoption of an adult or an emancipated minor is required only of the adoptee, the prospective adoptive parent and the spouse of the prospective adoptive parent.
ARTICLE VI - RECORDS OF ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS: RETENTION, CONFIDENTIALITY AND ACCESS
All adoption records on file with the court must be retained permanently and sealed for 99 years after the date of the adoptee's birth. Sealed records are not to be opened for inspection by any person except as provided by the court. This article gives adopted children access to existing nonidentifynig information about their birth parents and provides for consensual access to identifying information and mandates a registry where birth parents, adoptees and adoptive parents can place information for disclosure.
ARTICLE VII - PROHIBITED AND PERMISSIBLE ACTIVITIES IN CONNEC WITH ADOPTION
An adoptive parent or person acting on behalf of an adoptive parent may pay for (1) the services of an agency in connection with adoption; (2) advertising and similar expenses in finding a minor for adoption; (3) medical, hospital, nursing, pharmaceutical, traveling, and other similar expenses incurred by a mother and her minor child in connection with the birth or any illness of the minor; (4) counseling services for a parent or a minor for a reasonable time before and after the minor's placement for adoption; (5) living expenses of a mother for a reasonable time before the birth of her child and for no longer than 6 weeks after the birth; (6) legal services, court costs, and other administrative expenses; (7) expenses incurred in obtaining preplacement evaluation and an evaluation during the proceeding for adoption; and (8) any other service or expense the court finds necessary. Payments may not be made contingent on the placement of a minor for adoption, relinquishment of the minor, or consent to adoption.
ARTICLE VIII - MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
This act is to be cited as the Uniform Adoption Act. And
become effective on 8/28/95. Any proceeding for adoption started
before 8/28/95 may be completed under the law in effect at the
time the proceedings began.