Ticking Time Clock for Birth Parents to Reverse an NJ Adoption

There is a Specific Timeframe in which a Biological Parent can Reverse their Adoption Decision, and Only Special Circumstances that may Warrant Overturning an Option Once Finalized in New Jersey.

Changes of Heart and Mind: When Biological Parents Can Revoke Consent to Adoption in NJ

A very difficult and trying time in someone’s life is when they make a decision to give up their children for adoption. The circumstances of each adoption are usually not ideal, yet we still try to do what is right for our children, no matter what. We do what’s right even if it means giving up our rights as their parent. When a child is given up, or surrendered, for adoption, the biological parents of the child must surrender their parental rights. This must occur in order for the adoption to take place. The child is then given to a qualified person or persons who have been closely and thoroughly scrutinized in order to make sure the child is placed in a loving and safe environment. Once the challenging decision of giving a child up for adoption has been made, there is a limited timeframe during which the biological parents can change their minds. After the adoption has been legally formalized, the court requires particular reasons in order to undo the adoption.

If I Decide to Have my Child Adopted in NJ, What are my Rights?

Before the adoption process, biological parents have every right that parents have. They have the right to be informed regarding all of the information about the adoption process, what rights they have, and the consequences of adoption itself. They have the right to consent or deny adoption. They must consent to adoption voluntarily and this consent is typically memorialized in a legal document. Their consent must be given without coercion and freely. Usually there is a specific period of time that biological parents have in order to revoke the consent they give. Parents also have a right to seek legal representation in order to understand both their rights and the consequences of adoption more fully.

Lastly, biological parents have the right to receive counseling to help them deal with any emotions that may come along with the decision to give up their child for adoption. Counseling usually helps parents make a fully informed decision before deciding on whether to go forward with the adoption or not. During the adoption process, biological parents have the right to participate in any adoption plan. They can be involved in selecting the adoptive parents, as well as decide their level of post-adoption contact or participation, provided the adoptive parents agree to these conditions. Parents may also be eligible for financial assistance for expenses related to a pregnancy from adoptive parents.

Necessary Conditions for Consent to Adoption in New Jersey

Biological parents must absolutely consent to the adoption. The consent must be given voluntarily and without any force from external sources. In other words, biological parents must consent to the adoption process freely, voluntarily, and without coercion. In order for the biological parents to fully appreciate their decision, consent cannot be given sooner than 72 hours after the birth of the child.

Expiration of a Biological Parent’s Choice to Proceed with an Adoption in NJ

Main Reasons NJ Courts can Revoke an Adoption in Monmouth CountyBiological parents are allowed to change their minds up until the legal consent to terminate parental rights has been given. Before signing the legal consent, the birth mother is able to change her mind, but may be liable for any expenses paid by the adoptive parents for the pregnancy. Prior to relinquishing parental rights, the biological parents can withdraw their consent at any time. The adoption agency also has discretion in revoking the legal consent given.

Main Reasons NJ Courts can Revoke an Adoption

After signing the legal consent, birth parents cannot change their minds about the adoption unless the consent was given under duress, coercion, fraudulent terms or the parties misrepresented themselves. If the biological parents are not fully counseled, or informed of their rights in the adoption, then the adoption can possibly be reversed. These are the legal reasons why an adoption can be overturned in New Jersey courts.

For example, in The Matter of the Adoption of a Child by R.C.W. and S.M.W. the Appellate Court reversed a trial court’s order that a mother’s surrender invalid due to the adoption agency not fully informing her of her rights during the adoption process. The Appellate Court, based on the facts of the case, found that she was fully informed. However, if she was not fully informed, it would have constituted a revocable surrender. As in all cases involving custody of children, the facts and circumstances of the case must be weighed along with the best interests of the child.

Contact Our Beachwood Family Law Attorneys to Discuss the Enforceability of Your Adoption Today

Having an attorney who has experience representing biological parents during the adoption process is essential to ensure rights are fully understood and enforced. Adoptive parents also benefit from having a knowledgeable family lawyer present during the process. At Bronzino Law Firm, our family law team can ensure that all steps in the process are carefully followed so as not to present a problem later on. For both biological and adoptive parents, having our attorneys by your side can ensure that you are lawfully informed every step of the way, in terms of what rights you have and what you are entitled to. We can also counsel you on any agreements you have with all parties involved, including with the adoption agency. The adoption agency itself must be held to a standard throughout the process.

Enlisting our help and representation is the best way to make sure that all legal standards are met and you are fully protected. We help clients with adoption matters in Toms River, Sea Bright, Beachwood, Brick, Neptune, Howell, Brielle, Island Heights, and across Ocean and Monmouth County. To get started, contact us online or call  (732) 812-3102  for a free consultation.