Is a child’s consent necessary for adoption?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Whether or not a child’s consent is necessary for adoption will depend on the circumstances and the age of the child. Of course, in the event that a child is adopted as an infant, no child consent is required. However, if an older child is being adopted, then child consent may be required if the child is old enough to make an informed choice and make his or her opinion known.

Child Consent to Adoption

In every state, when an older child is adopted, the consent of the foster system, the birth parent or legal parents, and the adoptive parents is clearly required. However, whether or not a child has to agree to be adopted will depend on the circumstances.

In general, a child under 10 to 14 years of age does not need to consent to an adoption proceeding. Children of this young age range may not consent to an adoption because they are not old enough to make an informed decision. However, in general, children above a certain age, usually within the range listed above, may be required to give their consent for the adoption to take place before the courts will finalize it.

These rules generally apply when the adoption is of a foster child. In the event that a stepparent is adopting a child, or when a grandparent or other family member is adopting a child after a parent is deemed unfit or is deceased, there may be different considerations or requirements in place. In general, however, the focus of the court, and the determination about whether child consent is required or not will come down to what the court believes is in the best interests of the child. 

Getting Help

To determine whether child consent will be necessary in any specific adoption proceeding you are involved in, you should consult with a lawyer in your area.  


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