Adoption Lawyers in Mississippi
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Adoption in Mississippi
According to the law, any person may be adopted by an unmarried adult or married adult, provided their spouse joins the petition for adoption. Prospective parents must be at least 21 years old or married to the other adopting parent.
If you have questions about whether a court in this state is the most appropriate forum for your adoption petition, contact our law firm. A Mississippi adoption attorney can explain the law as it pertains to your situation.
Filing an Adoption Petition
The petition must be filed in the county in which the petitioner resides or the child resides, was born, or found abandoned. When the adoption is by consent of the natural parents, a written consent form must be signed under oath at least 72 hours after the child was born. An unwed father does not have the right to object to the adoption unless he has demonstrated full commitment to parental responsibilities within 30 days of the child’s birth. In this case, a petition for determination of rights must be filed. When the natural parents do not consent to the adoption, the matter must proceed to trial with the parents as parties to the adoption suit. When the child is more than 14 years old, a consent or acknowledgment by the child must be filed or the child must be a party to the adoption suit.
The court may require an investigation and home study of the adoptive parents. The investigation and report must provide facts for the court to use to make determinations regarding the child, that the adoptive parents are suitable, and that the child’s best interests are served by the adoption. Based on the findings, the court may enter a temporary judgment for six months to provide time for additional investigations or reports, when deemed necessary.
Final Adoption Judgment
After the six months has passed, the court may enter a final judgment of adoption. If the child is a stepchild of the adoptive parent or related by blood, or if the judge finds that no six-month temporary adoption is needed, the judge may decide that the waiting period is not necessary and enter the final judgment immediately.
The final judgment will state that the child:
- Inherits the same as any non-adopted children
- Is vested with the same rights and obligations as non-adopted children
- Change the child’s name
- Shall no longer be subject of any parental rights of their birth parents, except when the natural parent is the adopting parent's spouse
The Bureau of Vital Statistics will prepare a revised birth certificate with the original date of birth, the place of birth as the adoptive parents' residence, the child's new name, and the name of the adoptive parents.
Re-adoption is allowed under state law for children who were previously adopted with no waiting period. This is done when foreign-born children are adopted and brought to Mississippi by citizens of the state.
All adoption and re-adoption proceedings are confidential and held in closed court. Adoption records are not open to the public, unless good cause is shown and the court orders the records to be made public.
Each adoption situation is unique. It is best to consult with a Mississippi adoption lawyer to learn how the laws apply to your circumstances.
Get in touch with us today at (601) 675-4308 for compassionate counsel and to schedule your initial consultation.