Breaking Down Hawaii's Adoption Laws


How Does the Adoption Process Work in Hawaii?

Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or moved here to start a new path, you know that Hawaii is a perfect place to raise a family.

If you're thinking about growing your family and adopting, we took some time to break down what you should know about Hawaii's adoption laws.

Keep reading for more information.

Requirements for Adoption

As a potential adoptive parent, you would need to meet specific requirements to begin the adoption process officially. If you're at least 18 years old and reside in Hawaii, you can adopt — whether you’re married or single.

Before you can adopt, you must be able to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be able to provide a safe home environment.
  • Must be able to provide financial support for the child's needs.
  • Must be able to pass a home study before having a child placed in your home.
  • It must be in the child's best interests to adopt.
  • Must have consent to adopt from the birth parents or court.

When you're ready to begin the adoption process, we suggest that you consult with an adoption attorney beforehand to guide you through meeting the necessary criteria.

Home Study Requirements in Hawaii

Meeting Hawaii's home study requirements are one of the first steps in the adoption process. The home study will allow the court to know your home's living conditions and if your home fits the child's best interests.

It will also determine if you're ready and able to provide for the child.

The adoption department will complete a background check for child abuse, neglect, financial stability, the safety of your home, and criminal history. The department will also interview anyone who lives with you in your home.

In some instances, your home study may not get approval from the court if you were convicted of a crime and went to jail for a crime that will put the adoptive child at risk.

If you or anyone living with you has committed a crime that can put the child at risk, your adoption application can get denied.

Consent vs. Non-Consent Adoptions

There are two different ways to adopt in Hawaii. You can either adopt with consent or without consent, known as "non-consent" adoption.

Consent Adoptions

Consent is needed in adoptions where the birth mother or father signs forms for the child to be allowed to be adopted. If the child is ten years old or older, they can sign documents to give their own consent to be adopted.

The court can permit you to adopt if you meet these requirements:

  • The birth parents gave up their rights.
  • The department can't locate the birth parents.
  • The birth parents have not contacted the child a year after they've given up their parental rights.
  • You're the adoptive parent, and the child lived with you for more than a year.
  • The birth mother gave consent after six months of pregnancy.
  • The mother has to provide affirmation of consent to adopt after giving birth.
  • The birth parents had a 10-day notice of proposal for adoption.

Non-Consent Adoptions

A non-consenting parent is a parent who has not been in contact with their child for more than a year or can’t be located. The court will post a publication in the newspaper after sending a legal notice of the adoption to the non-consenting parent.

A hearing will be held 4 weeks after the publication and notice is sent out.

Consent isn't required if:

  • The birth parents deserted the child for more than 90 days without identification.
  • A court terminated the parent's rights.
  • The parents no longer have custody.
  • The birth parents did not have custody or provide for the child's needs.
  • The birth parent voluntarily gave up custody of the child for two years.

Get Started With a Honolulu Adoption Attorney

Adopting a child is an exciting time! If you're thinking about starting the adoption process, our Honolulu family law attorney at Smith & Sturdivant, LLLC can help you get started. We take pride in helping families with their adoption cases and work hard to get the best outcome possible.

Contact our firm at (808) 201-3898 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled family law attorneys about your adoption case!
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