A contested adoption can bring any prospective parent a wave of anxiety. Any parent in Oklahoma looking to adopt needs to be aware that a contested adoption is always possible.
If this is the case for you, you may feel caught off guard and unprepared. Here is a brief overview of contested adoption and what this means for your family.
What Happens in a Contested Adoption?
A contested adoption is when one biological parent intends to place the child up for adoption, but the other biological parent is against their decision or hasn’t given their consent. These situations typically occur when a biological father does not find out about his child until the adoption process is already underway.
Contested stepparent adoptions are also common. This is when the parent without custody refuses to relinquish their parental rights so that the stepparent can adopt the child.
In both situations, the adoptive parents must attend a contested adoption hearing. Based on the circumstances, these hearings are attended with or without the help of an agency or attorney.
During The Hearing
During this hearing, a judge will review the evidence and listen to both sides to decide with which party to place the child. The court is looking to assess which party can provide the child with a safe, loving, and stable life.
The adoptive parents will make the case that the child is better placed with them, and the biological parent will show evidence that they are a fit parent.
If the biological parent is the father, they may display text messages, photos, or other evidence that they were present during the pregnancy and demonstrated appropriate behavior. They will be examined to see whether they meet the state’s requirements for fulfilling the roles of a parent.
After The Hearing
There are generally three outcomes for a contested adoption hearing:
- The contesting individual is awarded parental rights, and the adoption process is terminated.
- The contesting individual is denied parental rights, and the adoption continues.
- The judge orders a best interest hearing in which both parties present additional evidence and arguments.
Preventing a Contested Adoption
Contested adoptions are stressful for all parties involved, but there are some things you can do to avoid the situation. If possible, ask the birth mother for information about any prospective birth fathers. While they may worry that the father will not consent to the adoption, it can cause issues later on if he finds out that he was denied the chance to exercise his rights.
Birth fathers who get to know the adoptive couple may feel comfortable with the adoption. This opens the way for the child to have a healthy relationship with all the adults in their life.
Contact Reddy & Feldhake P.C. for Representation
You don’t have to navigate a contested adoption all on your own. An attorney well versed in family law is crucial to winning your case. Schedule a free consultation with Reddy & Feldhake P.C. for family representation you can trust with your contested adoption.