Mississippi Family Law Attorneys
When Is Adoption Appropriate in Mississippi?
An adoption may be granted in Mississippi under the following scenarios:
(a) Immediately before commencement of the adoption proceeding, the minor
lived in Mississippi with a parent, a guardian, a prospective adoptive parent or another person acting as parent, for at least 6 consecutive months, excluding
periods of temporary absence, or, in the case of a minor under 6 months of age,
lived in Mississippi from soon after birth with any of those individuals and there is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor's present or future care; or
(b) Immediately before commencement of the adoption proceeding, the prospective adoptive parent lived in Mississippi for at least 6 consecutive months, excluding periods of temporary absence, and there is available in Mississippi substantial evidence concerning the minor's present or future care; or
(c) The agency that placed the minor for adoption is licensed in Mississippi and it is in the best interest of the minor that a court of Mississippi assume jurisdiction because:
(i) The minor and the minor's parents, or the minor and the prospective adoptive parent, have a significant connection with this state; and
(ii) There is available in this state substantial evidence concerning the minor's present or future care;
(d) The minor and the prospective adoptive parent are physically present in this state and the minor has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to
protect the minor because the minor has been subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse or is otherwise neglected; or
(e) It appears that no other state would have jurisdiction under prerequisites substantially in accordance with paragraphs (a) through (d), or another state has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that Mississippi is the more appropriate forum to hear a petition for adoption of the minor, and it is in the best interest of the minor that a court of Mississippi assume jurisdiction.
Who May Be Adopted?
Any person may be adopted by an unmarried adult or by a married person whose spouse joins in the petition for adoption.
Who May Adopt?
Each adopting parent must be at least 21 years old or married to the other adopting parent. Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited under Mississippi law.
Where Must The Petition for Adoption Be Filed?
The petition for adoption must be filed in the chancery court of the county in which the adopting petitioner or petitioners reside or in which the child to be adopted resides or was born, or was found when it was abandoned or deserted, or in which the home is located to which the child has been surrendered by a person authorized to do so.
Consent of Natural Parents
If the adoption is by consent of the natural parents, a written consent form signed under oath by the natural parents must be filed with the petition for adoption. The consent form cannot be signed prior to the expiration of 72 hours following birth of the child. In the case of a child born out of wedlock, the father shall not have a right
to object to an adoption unless he has demonstrated, within the period ending thirty (30) days after the birth of the child, a full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood. Determination of the rights of the father of a child born out of wedlock may be made in proceedings pursuant to a petition for determination of rights. If the natural parents do not consent to the adoption, then they must be made parties to
the adoption suit and the matter may proceed to trial. Also, if the child is more than
14 years old, a consent to the adoption, sworn to or acknowledged by the child, must be filed or the child must be made a party to the adoption suit.
Home Study and Interlocutory Judgment of Adoption
In an adoption case, the court may require an investigation and report to be made concerning the child and may require that a home study be performed of the
adopting parents. The investigation and report must give the material facts upon which the court may determine whether the child is a proper subject for adoption, whether the adopting parents are suitable parents for the child, whether the
adoption is in the child’s best interest, and any other facts or circumstances that
may be material to the proposed adoption. The home study is also considered by the court in determining whether the adopting parents are suitable parents for the child.
After the investigation and home study have been completed, the court may enter
an interlocutory or “temporary” judgment of adoption which shall stay in place for at least 6 months during which time the court may require such further and additional investigation and reports as it may deem proper.
Final Judgment of Adoption
A final judgment of adoption may be entered after the expiration of 6 months from the entry of the interlocutory judgment if an interlocutory judgment has been entered. When a child is a stepchild of the adopting parent or is related by blood to the adopting parent or in any case in which the judge determines that the 6 month
waiting period is not necessary, the final judgment may be entered immediately without any delay and without an interlocutory judgment.
The final judgment of adoption shall state that (a) the child shall inherit from and through the adopting parents and from the other children of the adopting parents to the same extent and under the same conditions as provided for the inheritance between brothers and sisters of the full blood, and that the adopting parents and
their other children shall inherit from the child, just as if such child had been born to the adopting parents in lawful wedlock; (b)that the child and the adopting parents
and adoptive kindred are vested with all of the rights, powers, duties and
obligations, respectively, as if such child had been born to the adopting parents in lawful wedlock; (c) that the name of the child shall be changed if desired; and (d) that the natural parents and natural kindred of the child shall not inherit by or through
the child except as to a natural parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent; (e) and that all parental rights of the natural parent, or parents, shall be terminated, except as to a natural parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent.
Revised Birth Certificate
Following the completion of most adoptions, the Bureau of Vital Statistics prepares a revised birth certificate containing the original date of birth, with the place of birth being shown as the residence of the adoptive parents at the time the child was born, but with the names of the adopting parents and the new name of the child. In all
other particulars, the certificate shall show the true facts of birth.
Children who were previously adopted may be re-adopted under Mississippi law, usually with no waiting period, no investigation, and no interlocutory decree. This procedure is used most often for foreign-born children adopted by Mississippi citizens and brought back to Mississippi.
Confidentiality of Adoption
All adoption proceedings are confidential and are held in closed court without admittance of any person other than the interested parties, except upon order of the court. All records pertaining to adopting proceedings are confidential and are not open to the public, except upon order of the court and only for good cause shown.