Adopting a child is an amazing experience, but it's important to ensure all the necessary consent is obtained before the process can move forward. In Hawaii, specific laws dictate who must consent to an adoption and when they must provide that consent. At Smith & Sturdivant, LLLC, we want to make sure that everyone involved in the adoption process understands these consent laws and knows what is required of them while pursuing the process.
Why Is Consent Important?
In short, consent is important because it ensures that everyone involved in the adoption process is on the same page and agrees to the terms of the adoption. While it seems like a small part of the entire adoption process, earning the consent of all parties for this adoption is vital, as it can make or break the entire adoption case.
If you cannot gain consent from all necessary parties, you may reach roadblocks further in the process, and the adoption will not be finalized. To avoid potential problems, it’s best to ensure that consent is obtained from all parties before moving forward in the adoption process.
Who Needs to Consent?
A few different parties will need to consent to an adoption in Hawaii. The necessary parties may vary by the case, but generally, the following individuals must consent to the child’s adoption:
- The child’s legal mother,
- The child’s legal father,
- Any individual with custody of the child,
- The court with legal jurisdiction of the child, and
- In some cases, the child themself.
If the child’s parents have lost or signed over their parental rights, they will not need to consent to the adoption, and consent will need to be sought from the child’s foster parents or the court. When pursuing adoption, it is vital that you work with the child’s caseworker to understand who exactly will need to consent to the child’s adoption and prevent any surprises or future roadblocks.
An experienced adoption attorney can also help you determine who needs to consent to the adoption as you work with them on your case. Together, they can help you compile and organize all relevant documents for the adoption, including consent documents.
Children Over the Age of Ten
In Hawaii, children over the age of ten must consent to their own adoption. This consent must be in writing and must be signed by the child in front of a witness. The consent form must also be notarized.
Read our blog to learn more about children consenting to their own adoption in our blog.
When Should Consent Be Provided?
Consent should be provided early in the process before the adoption is filed with the family court. This includes the consent forms, the adoption petition, and any other legal documents related to the adoption. It’s essential to make sure that all parties have read and understand the consent form before signing it.
Earning the consent of all parties early on in the process is vital, as if you cannot earn this consent, you will not be able to adopt the child. Seeking this in the early stages of the adoption can help you set reasonable expectations for the process and better understand if the adoption is possible.
Completing the Consent Process
Once all necessary consent has been obtained, the next step is to file the adoption petition with the court. Once the petition has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing, the court will review the adoption paperwork and ensure that all consent forms have been properly completed. After the hearing, the court will grant the adoption and issue a final adoption decree.
To learn more about this process, read our blog.
Hawaii’s Family Law Advocates
At Smith & Sturdivant, LLLC, our family law attorneys are passionate about bringing families together despite this difficult process. Our attorneys will review the adoption process with you and help you prepare to welcome your newest family member.
Are you preparing for adoption but unsure how to seek adoption? Schedule a free consultation with one of our adoption attorneys today by calling (808) 201-3898. We look forward to your call.