Adoption Without Parental Consent in Iowa

A child in Iowa who was adopted without parental consent.Making the decision to place your biological child with another family or adopt a child into your household can be full of love, hopefulness, and sometimes sadness. While experiencing a mixture of feelings surrounding adoption is natural, your adoption journey doesn’t have to be filled with legal confusion.

Our team at 303 Legal, P.C. can guide you through the Iowa adoption laws and attain the results your family deserves. Whether you want to complete an adoption with consent or an adoption without parental consent in Iowa, we’re here to help you achieve what’s best.

When Can a Child’s Adoption Happen in Iowa?

Although we often associate adoption with the process of adopting a baby from someone who voluntarily gives their child up, there are many other types of adoption.

Maybe you’re a step-parent who has made an incredible connection with your spouse’s child and you want to provide that child with the love, support, and stability that the child’s other parent refuses to provide. Or maybe you have taken on parenting responsibilities for a relative who can’t care for their child and you want to formalize your role. Unfortunately, obtaining parental consent for such adoption can sometimes be an uphill battle.

There are generally two ways that parties can complete a child’s adoption in Iowa:

  • Obtain consent to the adoption from all appropriate parties; or
  • Have the court terminate the legal parents’ parental rights.

Depending on the circumstances of the potential adoptive child, these requirements might be easier or harder to fulfill.

Adoption with Consent

The easiest way to adopt is for the child’s legal parents to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights or consent to the adoption. For example, if you are a step-parent seeking to adopt your spouse’s child, you will need your spouse to consent and the child’s other parent to give up their parental rights. If the other parent has shown limited interest in the child’s life, it’s possible they will agree.

Depending on your child’s circumstances, the consent process in Iowa may also require you to obtain consent from several other individuals, including:

  • All guardians of the child;
  • The spouse of any petitioner who is a step-parent; and
  • Any prospective adoptive child who is at least 14 years old.

Every consent has to be in writing, and consenting parties have an option to withdraw their consent. If a necessary party refuses to consent or can’t be located, that doesn’t always mean the adoption proceedings are over. The court can decide whether certain consents are necessary for moving forward with an adoption. If a parent refuses to consent to adoption, you can pursue adoption without parental consent in Iowa by seeking judicial termination of the parent’s rights.

Termination of Parental Rights

For any adoption, there needs to be a termination of one or more parent’s rights. Termination can often be the hardest step in the adoption process. There are many reasons why a court might terminate someone’s parental rights, including:

  • The parent signed an unrevoked release of custody;
  • The parent abandoned the child;
  • The parent failed (without good cause) to help support the child despite having an order to do so;
  • The parent didn’t object to a termination notice;
  • The parent has a substance related problem, has committed domestic abuse multiple times, and has improperly retained or removed the child from someone with custody rights;
  • The parent was convicted of and imprisoned for a certain kind of crime; or
  • The child was conceived from sexual abuse, and the abused parent petitioned to terminate the other parent’s rights.

Parents who sign releases of custody can revoke their signed releases within 96 hours of signing. And any parent can petition the court to revoke a signed release before the rights of the signing parent are terminated. There are many nuances and factors that can affect the above grounds for termination. It’s best to have a lawyer review your options for terminating parental rights before you petition for a termination.

Termination of parental rights is a steep legal determination, so the judicial system doesn’t make this kind of decision lightly. Before terminating a parent’s rights, the court must have clear and convincing evidence that there are legal grounds for termination. This is a very high standard that you can best reach with the help of a skilled family legal matters attorney.

What If I Can’t Locate the Child’s Biological Parent?

As we mentioned above, the court needs to terminate the parental rights of a biological parent before their child can be adopted. We understand that locating a child’s biological parent is sometimes easier said than done. So what happens if you don’t know where the parent is?

The court can terminate a parent’s rights if they don’t respond to notice about the termination. Depending on the situation, you can give notice of termination by:

  • Personal service on the other parent;
  • Certified mail with restricted delivery; or
  • Publication in an appropriate newspaper.

An experienced attorney knows which methods of service are appropriate for your case and how to best achieve them so you can move forward with making the best choices for your family and future.

Our Seasoned Lawyer Can Guide You to Peace of Mind

When you need assistance or permission from the court to make family decisions, the undertaking is rarely simple, and the stakes are often high. You don’t want to go this alone, and you don’t need to. At 303 Legal, P.C., we provide top-tier legal service and advocacy for families in need of help. We are aggressive for our clients in court and compassionate to their needs. Not only are we experienced and ready to represent you in family court, we fight for your success with as little financial and emotional burden on you as possible. We’re honored to serve families in our community, and we hope we can serve your family’s needs as well. Call us at 319-423-3031 or contact us online today for a consultation.