01 Aug Birth Parent Rights in South Carolina Adoptions
Placing a child for adoption is a difficult decision, but state laws are in place to protect the child, birth parents, and adoptive families in adoption cases. Before beginning the process of adoption, it is important to understand the rights of all parties involved. Here is an overview of birth parent rights in South Carolina during adoptions.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights & Revocation of Consent
In addition to deciding if she wants to keep or place a child for adoption, a mother also has the right and responsibility of choosing the right adoptive family. Once an expecting mother has chosen a prospective family, an adoption agreement is executed. An adoption agreement made between the birth mother and adoptive parents contains decisions on issues such as:
- Contact between the parties before birth and during the hospital stay
- Contact between the birth mother and the child after the adoption
- Medical, legal, and living expenses to be provided by adoptive family
No matter what paperwork has been signed, a mother can change her mind at any point before the birth of the child. Keep in mind if a mother decides against placing her child for adoption, or if she decides to choose a different family, she may be asked to reimburse any expenses already paid.
Once a child is born in South Carolina, there is no required waiting period before giving consent to adoption. However, most agencies will wait at least 24 hours before obtaining consent. Once a child is born and consent is given, South Carolina does not allow a birth mother to revoke her consent.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
In some cases, birth parent rights will be terminated and a child will be placed for adoption without her consent. Involuntary termination of parental rights may happen in South Carolina if:
- The child has been neglected or abused
- The parent demonstrates incapacity due to drug and/or alcohol abuse
- The parent demonstrates incapacity due to mental illness
- The parent abandons the child
- The parent has been convicted of severe child abuse
- The parent receives a long prison sentence
Birth Father Rights in a South Carolina Adoption
When a child is born to unmarried parents, the father has almost no rights unless he takes action to secure them. However, in cases where an unmarried man fathers a child that may be put up for adoption, South Carolina allows men to be proactive in claiming parental responsibility by joining the Responsible Father Registry.
If a father signs up through the registry, his parental rights cannot be terminated, and the child cannot be adopted without his notice. If a mother wants to place a child for adoption, the father must first consent to the adoption or have his rights involuntarily terminated.
Additionally, consent must be obtained from the father if a child is placed for adoption more than six months after birth, and the father has maintained contact with the child. Otherwise, the birth mother does not need to obtain consent or even notify the natural father before placing a child for adoption.
Considering Adoption? Get Legal Help Today
Adoption could be the most wonderful gift you can give to your child or a family waiting for a child. Whether you are a parent by birth or adoption, it is important to seek legal assistance for what can be a long, complicated, and emotional process. Contact the experienced adoption attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina for legal help today.