Adoption in New Hampshire
There are many circumstances that a person may need to understand New Hampshire adoption laws. Whether they are considering adopting a child, surrendering parental rights of a child or looking into fostering a child, adoption laws can be confusing. A family lawyer can help greatly in these types of situations by explaining precisely what the adoptions laws are in the state. Adoption laws can vary from state to state, in New Hampshire laws relating to adoption are covered under Chapter 107-B. This includes everything including the rights of the adoptive parents and the birth parents.
This code includes laws pertaining to the process of surrendering the child, withdrawing from the surrendering process, arrangements between adoptive and birthparents, petitioning for adoption and more. Adoption is a complicated process and the key is to make sure that there are no legal loop holes which negatively affect the adoptee or the family in the future.
Who Can Adopt in New Hampshire?
Under New Hampshire law RSA 170-B:4, any adult is eligible to adopt. This includes the following:
- A married couple adopting jointly
- An Unmarried adult
- A stepparent adopting a stepchild
- A married person adopting separately if any of the following circumstances apply:
- Their spouse is a parent of the adoptee
- The spouses are legally separated
- The spouse is away on a prolonged unexplained absence and gives their approval of the adoption
- The adoptee is over the age of 18 and the spouse approves of the adoption
According to RSA 170-B:3, anyone is eligible for adoption provided the following:
- If the adoptee is 14 years old or more, they must agree to the adoption. In some cases this can be waived if the court determines that it is not in the adoptee's best interest to require agreement
- If the adoptee is alleged to be mentally incompetent or incapacitated the court may also waive this agreement clause.
- If the adoptee is married, the spouse must also agree to the adoption. This is true even if the adoptee is a minor.
Adoption Laws in New Hampshire
Adoption laws in New Hampshire work to accomplish three things. The most important is to make sure that the best interested interest of the child is looked after. Under RSA 17-B:1, the purpose of the adoption code of law is threefold including the following:
- Ensuring that the adoptive parent or parents have an undisturbed relationship with their adopted child after the process is complete
- To protect the birth parent or parents from making a rash decision or being coerced into giving up the legal right to their child
- To protect the adopted child from being separated from their birth parents unnecessarily
Domestic and International Adoption
There different laws that apply to domestic versus international adoptions. International adoptions involve adopting a child from a foreign county. This concept has been around since the 1950s but has gained popularity in recent years. It requires issuing a certificate of foreign birth. In New Hampshire, a decree of court by any court within or outside the United States is recognized as an adoption decree as long as it is issued under the law.
Domestic adoption often involves adopting child from another state. This can also pose some complications as a commissioner from the Department of Public Safety and Welfare must approve before a child from another state can be transferred into New Hampshire for purposes of adoption. Adoptions can be either public or private. A public adoption takes place through a government agency and a private adoption involves a private company that is licensed by the State.
According to American Adoptions, the adoption type breakdown for children adopted in the United States in 2007 was as follows:
- 38% were adopted through private agencies
- 37% were adopted through foster care of public agencies
- 25% were adopted internationally
Speak to a New Hampshire Family Lawyer
If you are considering adopting, fostering a child or placing a child up for adoption, contact a family law attorney right away. The best way to make sure you understand all the specifics of New Hampshire adoption law is to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer. Attorney Katharine Phinney is a dedicated family lawyer who has extensive knowledge of the New Hampshire statutes pertaining to adoption. Contact our office right now for free consultation.