Pennsylvania’s laws on adoption

Although many states’ family laws can make adoption difficult, Pennsylvania laws are some of the least restrictive. In Pennsylvania, not only are almost all adults free to adopt, but almost all people are capable of being adopted. An adult, for instance, may be adopted with provided consent.

In Pennsylvania, no adults are restricted from adopting. If one spouse chooses not to adopt, their significant other may still follow through with the process after their consent. The law even allows minors to adopt in certain cases, especially when an older sibling chooses to accept responsibility for a younger brother or sister. In most cases, unmarried adults in a cohabitation situation are not permitted to adopt; however, certain situations may warrant an exception under Pennsylvania law.

If birth parents agree to be contacted by the adopted children, the method of how that contact will happen and when it will occur varies from child to child. If the birth parents refuse to be contacted, this closed adoption will possibly require medical records for the child’s future information.

Consent by the adopted person is required if the child is over 12 years of age. In many cases, the birth parents must also consent, although if the child is removed from the home, this requirement could be waived. Although Pennsylvania does not require adoptive parents to reside in the state, a temporary placement period may be required. Prospective parents looking to adopt may wish to speak with a family law attorney to ensure that they meet the qualifications when moving through the application process.

Source: Findlaw, “Pennsylvania Adoption Laws“, December 04, 2014

Pennsylvania dad hoping for custody of daughter he hasn’t met

Issues involving child custody for Pittsburgh residents are not uncommon. When a relationship between two parents, whether they are married or not, comes to an end, those parents don’t always see eye to eye on that aspect of family law.

Of course, many of these cases involve parents volleying for custody of a child they have raised together. It is possible, however, that one of the parents angling for custody has never even met the child that he or she wishes to raises. But that’s the circumstance facing one Pennsylvania dad whose daughter was adopted out to another family without his knowledge.

The man was serving in Afghanistan as a contractor back in 2010 when his girlfriend gave birth; she had a girl. However, when he returned to the United States, the woman told him that she’d instead had a son who died shortly after his birth.

In reality, however, the woman had flown from Pennsylvania to Utah to give birth, where she surrendered the child to an adoption agency. However, the man didn’t find out that information until after Utah said he had waited for too long to challenge the adoption.

A court there, however, recently ruled that the man’s constitutional rights were violated by what the girl’s mother had done, and allowed his case to proceed. He is now likely to have a new hearing on his case soon.

Biological parents who wish to re-establish their parental rights in Pennsylvania can work with an experienced family law attorney, who can assist them.

Source: WNEP-TV, “Update: Williamsport Man Gets New Chance at Custody of Child He’s Never Seen,” Dave Bohman, Feb. 26, 2014

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