Before a minor child can be adopted, that child must be “legally free” from the legal rights and the parental status of the birth parents. Termination of parental rights can take place either voluntarily or involuntarily.
Consent to Termination of Parental Rights
Usually, private placement adoptions, either through an agency or in a private party, are through the consent of the birth mother or do not involve involuntary termination of parental rights of both parents.
It is necessary to have the signed consent of at least one parent for a private adoption allowing a party to file a petition for relinquishment and adoption. This is not true where the State of Washington achieves a termination of parental rights through the dependency process. The voluntary consent can be signed by a birth parent before or after the child’s birth, at the option of the birth parent, and must be witnessed by a person over the age of 18 of the birth parent’s choosing.
Consent Must be Approved by the Court to have Legal Effect
The Consent to Adoption form has no force or legal effect unless and until it is presented to and approved by the Court.
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