Adoptions accomplished independently of a state or other agency is generally between family members, although there is no requirement that the adoptive parents be related to the child. An adoption may be accomplished by consent of the biological parent or parents any time after birth, or in the event one or both parents have abandoned the child.
Abandonment means no intentional contact for one year prior to filing the adoption petition. Intentional contact does not include such things as paying child support or running into the parent unexpectedly at the grocery store and saying hello, but it does include phone calls, requests to see the child, sending or requesting pictures or updates, or almost any expression of an active interest in seeing the child or building a relationship with the child now or in the future.
As part of the adoption and upon request, a new birth certificate may be ordered and the child’s name may be changed. The biological parent’s child support and all other obligations end upon adoption, and the adoptive parent becomes the legal parent for all purposes.
NOTICE: The above summary is meant for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal advice. It is meant merely as a broad overview of the rules applicable to the majority of cases, and does not diminish the need to consult with a professional regarding your specific circumstances.