Q:

What are the laws governing adoption in Rhode Island?

A:

Quick Answer

In Rhode Island, residents are permitted to formally petition the Family Court to adopt any minor younger than themselves, states the Rhode Island Bar Association. Nonresidents may also petition to adopt a minor in Rhode Island, provided the minor is in the care and custody of an official or licensed Rhode Island child placement agency. If the prospective adoptive parent is married, his spouse is usually required by law to support the petition to adopt.

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Full Answer

Minors may only be placed for adoption in Rhode Island by their natural parents, a state-licensed child placement agency or the Rhode Island Department for Children, Youth, and Families. Natural parents placing a child for adoption must notify the Rhode Island Department for Children, Youth, and Families within 15 days of the placement. Natural parents are required to consent in writing to placing their children for adoption, notes the Rhode Island Bar Association. Minor parents wishing to place their children for adoption must also seek the consent of their own parents or guardians.

Before the petition hearing for legal adoption of a minor, the child is usually required to have lived in the proposed adoptive home for a period of at least six months. Natural rights governing the relation between parent and child are then transferred to the adoptive parents.

Adults may also be adopted in Rhode Island, with petitions for adult adoption heard by the probate court in the petitioner's town or city.

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