Kansas is governed by a variety of statutes, including K.S.A. 59-2136. This outlines the requirements for adoption including that there is no minimum specified or required age, the adoptive parent(s) must be at least ten (10) years older than the child, the adoptive person or parents may be single or married, an LGBT couple or other alternative family may adopt and a background check is required.
What are some common adoption definitions in Kansas?
These are defined by K.S.A. 59-2111 and include the following:
- “Adult adoption” means the adoption of an adult person (someone who has reached eighteen years of age);
- “Agency adoption” is an adoption of a child where the agency has the authority to consent to the adoption;
- An “independent adoption” means the adoption of a child where the child’s parent or parents has authority to consent to an adoption but does not include a stepparent adoption;
- “Stepparent adoption” is the adoption of a minor child by the spouse of a parent, with the consent of that parent;
K.S.A. 59-2113 indicates that any adult or a husband and wife jointly (or other married couple) may adopt a minor as their child, except that if married, a spouse cannot adopt a child without the consent of the other spouse.
According to K.S.A. 59-2114 if a consent is entered, it needs to be in writing and acknowledged before a judge of the court or record and the judge shall ensure that the person provided consent understands the effects of the consent, as well as that the consent is final when signed, unless the consenting party, prior to the final decree of adoption alleges and proves by clear and convincing evidence that the consent given was not freely and voluntarily given (i.e. that the consent was given by coercion, duress, force, being tricked or the like).
The consent for an adoption must not be executed/signed more than six months prior to the date the petition for adoption is filed.
What is the requirement for a minor parent to provide a consent?
According to K.S.A. 59-2115, the minority does not invalidate a parent’s consent or relinquishment of their rights, except a minor parent shall have the advice of independent legal counsel as to the consequences of the consent or relinquishment prior to signing it. The attorney providing independent legal counsel to the minor parent shall be present when the actual execution of the consent is completed. Unless the minor parent is otherwise represented by independent legal counsel, the Petitioner(s) or child placing agency shall provide independent legal counsel to the minor parent at their sole expense.
How Soon After a Baby is Born Can a Parent’s Consent for Termination Be Given?
According to K.S.A. 59-2116, a consent or relinquishment by a mother may not be given by the mother or accepted until twelve (12) hours after the birth of the child. If a consent is given by the mother before twelve (12) hours after the birth of the child, it is voidable, at any point prior to the entry of the final decree of adoption.
Can A Consent Be Given Outside of the State?
According to K.S.A. 59-2117, if a consent or relinquishment is executed and acknowledged outside of this state, either according to the law of this state or according to the law of the place where it is executed, it is valid. This can include outside of the state, in a foreign country a person located elsewhere due to military service. If a consent is signed in a foreign country, the consent shall be acknowledged or affirmed according to the law and procedure of that country. If a consent or relinquishment is signed by someone in military service, the relinquishment may be acknowledged before a commissioned office and the signature can be verified or acknowledge before a notary public or such other procedure then in effect for that particular branch of the armed services.
Will a Child’s Last Name Be Changed as the Result of the Adoption?
According to K.S.A. 59-2118, any person adopted consistent with K.S.A. 59-211 through 59-2143, will receive the surname (last name) of the Petitioner or Petitioners for adoption, except the court in its direction may permit a different last name when requested by the petitioner or petitioners. The name change must be requested by the petitioners and the court, in its discretion may change the given name or names of the person to be adopted.
When a child is adopted, the child or person will be entitled to the same personal and property rights as a birth child of the adoptive parent. The adoptive parent will be entitled to exercise all of the rights of a birth parent and will be subject to all of the liabilities of the relationship (such as child support obligation, an obligation if that child parents a child, etc.). When adoption is completed, all of the birth parent’s rights to the child including to inherit shall stop. On the other hand, an adoption does not terminate or stop the right of the child to inherit from or through the birth parent.
When the Adoption is Completed Where is it Reported?
The adoption gets reported to the Bureau of Vital Statistics consistent with the requirements of K.S.A. 59-2119.
What is An Interstate Adoption and Are there Any Special Procedures?
An interstate adoption is governed through the ICPC (interstate compact on the placement of children) procedures. Interstate placements of children must comply with the procedures for placement of children out of state. Please see our separate blog article about interstate placements if this is applicable to your family. If a professional fails to comply with ICPC provisions in the completion of an adoption, the professional can actually be guilty of a class C misdemeanor.
What Fees Can Be Paid in Conjunction with an Adoption?
No person may request, receive, give or other to give any consideration (money or payment) in connection with an adoption according to K.S.A. 59-2121 except: (1) reasonable fees for legal and other professional services rendered in connection with the placement not to exceed customary fees for similar services by professionals except that fees for legal and other professional services for adoptions outside of the state shall not exceed customary fees for similar services when performed in the state of Kansas; (2) reasonable fees in the State of Kansas for a licensed child-placing agency; (3) actual and necessary expenses, incident to placement or the adoption proceeding; (4) actual medical expenses of the mother attributable to the pregnancy and birth; (5) actual medical expenses of the child; (6) reasonable living expenses of the mother which are incurred during or as a result of the pregnancy.
In an adoption case, a detailed accounting of all adoptions expenses given, to be given or disbursements made or to be made must be disclosed. The Court will need to approve the accounting for the expenses.
Will the Public Be Able To View the Adoption Records?
No, according to K.S.A. 59-2122, the records and files associated with the adoption proceeding shall not be open to inspection or copy by persons other than the parties in interest and their attorneys and representatives of the state department of social services or upon an order permitting access to the records. Also important to note, that birth parents are not considered interested parties once a decree of adoption is entered. If needed, the department of children and families (DCF) may contact the adopted individual but will only provide information to the birth parents if requested by the adopted individual.
Where is it appropriate to file an adoption?
An independent adoption venue (location) shall be in the county where the petitioner resides or in the county where the child to be adopted resides (according to K.S.A. 59-2126). For a step-parent adoption, the venue shall be in the county where the Petitioner(s) reside or where the child resides. If the residence of the child is the basis for venue, a sworn affidavit shall be filed with the venue setting forth the factual basis for the child’s residency.
What is Jurisdiction and How Does it Apply to My Adoption Situation?
A court of the State of Kansas may exercise jurisdiction over an adoption case as long as a court of another state is not exercising jurisdiction over another custody proceeding pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, unless the proceeding in another state is stayed by the court of the other state. If a court of another state issues a final custody decree of order, the State of Kansas cannot proceed with jurisdiction unless the court that entered the decree releases jurisdiction or does not have jurisdiction over an adoption proceeding in conformity with this requirement or has declined to exercise jurisdiction for an adoption. If the court is not certain whether it should or can exercise its jurisdiction, the court may communicate with the court of another state and share information to help the two courts determine the appropriate jurisdiction. If the court in Kansas decides not to exercise jurisdiction, it may dismiss the adoption proceeding in Kansas or stay the proceeding with the condition that the adoption proceeding be promptly commenced in another state based upon appropriate conditions/terms.
What is Required to be Contained in a Petition for Adoption in Kansas?
The petition for adoption shall be filed by the person or couple who wish to adopt the child and shall provide the following information, under oath:
- The name, residence and address of the petitioner(s);
- The suitability of the petitioner to assume the parent/child relationship;
- The name of the child, the date, time and place of the child’s birth and the present address or whereabouts of the child;
- The places where the child has lived during the last five years;
- The names and present address of the persons with whom the child has lived during the last five years;
- Whether the party has participated as a party or witness or in any other capacity in any other proceeding regarding custody of or visitation with the child and if so, the court, case number and date of any other custody determination needs to be identified;
- Whether the party has any information as to any person not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal or physical custody or visitation with the child and if so, the names and addresses of those persons;
- Whether one or both of the natural parents are living and the name, date of birth, residence and address of those living, as known by the Petitioner;
- That a consent has been obtained or the facts known that eliminate the necessity for the consent if either of the natural parents have not provided a consent;
- Whether the interstate compact on the placement of children (ICPC) and Indian child welfare act have been or will be complied with prior to the hearing;
If any of the above information is in the affirmative, the additional information or explanation shall also be provided. The court may examine the parties under oath as to the details of the information furnished and any other needed information.
The Petitioner has a continuing duty to inform the court of any new proceedings in Kansas or any other state that could affect the pending adoption case.
A stepparent adoption petition does not require a statement in compliance with the interstate compact on the placement of children.
If written consents/relinquishments are received, those shall be filed at the time of the adoption petition, as well as any other required background information, the accounting and the affidavit regarding the child’s addresses of residence and persons having an interest in the child.
Who Can Consent to an Adoption and What Should be Included in the Consent in Kansas?
In Kansas, the living parents need to consent or one of the parents may need to consent if the other parent’s consent is found to be unnecessary, according to K.S.A. 59-2129. If a child has a legal guardian or both parents are dead or their consent is found unnecessary, then the legal guardian can consent as well. If the child that the petitioners are seeking to adopt is over the age of fourteen, the child needs to provide his or her consent as well. If a parent gives consent to their termination, it needs to be in substantial compliance with the form provided by the legislature in the statute, K.S.A. 59-2143.
Can Temporary Orders Be Entered in Kansas for Adoption Cases?
According to K.S.A. 59-2131, yes. In an independent agency adoption, the court may make an appropriate order for the care and custody of the child. However, prior to the child being placed in the home of the Petitioners, even on a temporary basis, (if the petitioners are not a licensed home), the home shall first be assessed by a person or agency authorized to make assessments. If there is not a pre-placement assessment, the court may still make an order for placement in a home not licensed if the court holds an evidentiary hearing which shall include testimony by the petitioners. A hearing under this section to determine the fitness of the petitioners’ home shall occur as expeditiously as possible. According to K.S.A. 59-2132, in independent and agency adoptions, the court shall require the petitioner(s) to obtain an assessment by a court-approved social worker by a licensed child-placing agency of the advisability of the adoption. The petitioner(s) shall file (at least ten days before the hearing on the petition), a report of the assessment and if necessary, confirmation or clarification of the information filed. If a licensed social worker is not available, the court may appoint the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) for that purpose. The report should include the observation of the child in the petitioner(s)’ home, verification of financial information, ensure that the petitioner(s) are not listed on the child abuse and neglect registry, and if required, a similar clearance for another state or country, shall confirm that the petitioners have not been convicted of a felony and to confirm with the agency or individuals consenting to the adoption to confirm and clarify any genetic and medical history associated with the petition.
In the case of a nonresident who is filing a petition to adopt a child in Kansas, the assessment and report must be completed in the petitioner’s state of residence by a licensed social worker, a licensed child-placing agency or a comparable entity in that state and filed with the court at least ten days before the hearing on the petition. The assessment and report required under this section must have been completed within the year prior to the filing of the petition for adoption. The requirement of the home study assessment may be waived in a circumstance of a child’s grandparent(s) adopting, upon motion and approval by the court.
What Kind of Notice Is Given For an Adoption in Kansas?
If a petition is filed, the court shall set a hearing time and place needs to be at least thirty (30) days after the filing of the petition but not more than sixty (60) days after the filing of the petition. The court may extend the time period for good cause. In independent adoptions and stepparent adoptions, the notice for the petition shall be given to the parents or presumed parents unless their parental rights have been previously terminated. The notice shall include a copy of the petition.
What is Involved in a Final Adoption Hearing in Kansas?
At a hearing, it is the court’s responsibility to assess all of the evidence, including determining whether it should exercise its jurisdiction as provided in K.S.A. 59-2127. If the adoption is granted the court should issue a final judgment/decree of adoption. If the adoption is denied, the court needs to enter appropriate orders such as giving temporary custody for a 30 day period pending termination of the instant case or a new case being filed. The costs of the adoption proceedings shall be paid by the petitioner or as assessed by the court.
What Happens if a Parent Cannot or Does Not Consent to an Adoption?
If a parent does not consent and sign a consent/relinquishment, then termination of a parents rights must proceed under K.S.A. 59-2136 and in the petition, it must be stated that the termination is proceeding under this section rather than through consent.
In a stepparent adoption, if the father’s whereabouts are unknown, the court may appoint an attorney to represent any father whose whereabouts are unknown. In all other cases, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent any father who is unknown or whose whereabouts are unknown. If no person is identified as the father or a possible father, the court shall order publication notice of the hearing in an appropriate manner.
In a stepparent adoption, if a mother consents to the adoption of a child who has a presumed father or who has a father as to whom the child is a legitimate child under prior law or another jurisdiction, the father must give consent to the adoption unless the father has failed or refused to assume the duties of a parent for two years next preceding the filing of the petition or is incapable of giving such consent. In determining whether a father’s consent is required, the court may disregard incidental visitations, contacts, communications or contributions. There is a rebuttable presumption that if the father, after having knowledge of the child’s birth knowingly fails to provide a substantial portion of the child support as required by a court order, where financially able to do so, for a period of two years then such father has failed or refused to assume the responsibilities of parenthood.
If a mother desires to relinquish or consents to the adoption of the child, a petition shall be filed in the court to terminate the parental rights of the father, unless the father’s rights were previously terminated or determined not to exist. The petition can be filed by the mother, the petitioner for the adoption, or the person or agency having custody of the child. The request for termination may be included in the petition for adoption where appropriate.
In an effort to identify the father, the court shall determine by deposition, affidavit or hearing, the following: 1) whether is a presumed father under K.S.A. 38-1114; (2) whether there is a father whose relationship has been determined by the court; (3) there is a father as to whom the child is a legitimate child under prior law of this state or the law of another jurisdiction; (4) whether the mother was cohabitating with a man at the time of the conception or birth of the child; (5) whether the mother has received support payments or promises of support or support during the mother’s pregnancy; (6) whether any man has formally or informally acknowledged or declared such man’s possible paternity of the child. If the father is identified to the satisfaction of the court or more than one father is given, each shall be given notice of the proceeding. Notice shall be given to every person identified as the father or possible father by personal service, certified mail or any other manner the court may direct. Proof of notice of service shall be filed with the court before the petition or request is heard.
If after an inquiry the court is unable to identify the father or any possible father and no person has appeared claiming to be the father and claiming custodial rights, the court shall enter an order terminating the unknown father’s parental rights with reference to the child. If any person identified as a father or possible father fails to appear or fails to claim custodial rights, such parent’s rights shall be terminated. When a father appears and asserts parental rights, the court shall determine parentage if necessary pursuant to the Kansas parentage act. If a father desires but is not financially able to employ an attorney, the court shall appoint an attorney for the father. Thereafter, the father’s rights may be terminated upon a finding by clear and convincing evidence of any of the following:
- The Father abandoned or neglected the child after knowing about the child’s birth;
- The father is unfit as a parent or incapable of giving consent;
- The father has not made reasonable efforts to support or communicate with the child after having knowledge of the child’s birth;
- The father, after having knowledge of the pregnancy, failed without reasonable cause to provide support for the mother during the six months prior to the child’s birth;
- The father abandoned the mother after having knowledge of the pregnancy;
- The birth of the child was the result of rape of the mother; or
- The father has failed or refused to assume the duties of a parent for two consecutive years next preceding the filing of the petition;
In making findings about this, the court may disregard incidental visitations, contacts, communications or contributions. In determining whether the father has failed or refused to assume the duties of a parent for two consecutive years, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that if the father after having knowledge of the child’s birth, has knowingly failed to provide a substantial portion of the child support as required by judicial decree, when financially able to do so, for a period of two years next preceding the filing of the petition for adoption then such father has failed or refused to assume the duties of a parent
How Do I complete an Adult Adoption in Kansas?
According to K.S.A. 59-2137, the provisions of this section shall apply for adult adoptions. The venue for adult adoptions shall be in the county where the petitioner or the adult sought to be adopted resides. If an adult is sought to be adopted, the adult must give consent or if the adult is disabled/impaired, the adult’s guardian must give consent.
What about Foreign Adoption in Kansas?
When a Kansas resident adopts a child in a foreign country in accordance with the laws of the foreign country pertaining to the relinquishment, termination of parental rights and consent to the adoption, the decree of adoption or a similar document which evidences finalization of the adoption in the foreign country and evidence of lawful admission into the United States when filed with and entered in the records of the clerk of the district court has the same force and effect as if the decree of adoption or a similar document which evidences finalization of the adoption in the foreign country was granted in accordance with the provisions of the Kansas adoption and relinquishment act. When such decree or document is filed and entered, the adoptive parent or parents may request a birth certificate.
How Can We Help You?
At Pingel Family Law, we want to help you complete your family through the gift and blessing of adoption. If we can assist you with understanding and completing the process of adoption, please call our office today for a consultation and (816) 208-8130 and allow our office to be part of the story of completing your family through the blessing of adoption!