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Ohio Adoption Laws

Deciding to adopt a child is a big decision -- one that can involve an intimidating amount of legal processes and paperwork. Adoption laws historically have varied from state to state, but they are becoming more and more uniform throughout the U.S. Because there has been a shift in social values that emphasizes the recognition of children’s rights, many states are requiring the child's consent in order to finalize an adoption.

In Ohio, adoption laws provide that any unmarried adult, unmarried minor parent of an adoptee, or married couple may adopt (unless the couple is legally separated). While this means that a single gay or lesbian individual may adopt a child, since Ohio still does not recognize same-sex marriage, a same-sex couple cannot legally adopt a child together. Ohio law provides that an adopted child may only legally have two parents if the parents are married to one another -- making same-sex adoption, where both adopting parents are recognized as the child's legal parent, logistically impossible.

Ohio law also states that if the child to be adopted is 12 years old or older, he or she must consent to the adoption. Ohio requires a six-month home residency prior to finalization of the adoption.

The following table lists the basic provisions of Ohio's adoption laws.

Code Section

3107.01, et seq.; Yes

Who May Be Adopted

Any child; certain adults only.

Age that Child's Consent Needed

12 years and older

Who May Adopt

Unmarried adult; unmarried minor parent of adoptee; husband and wife (at least one of whom is adult) together, unless legally separated or under certain other circumstances.

Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption?

6 months

State Agency/Court

Human Services/Probate

Statute of Limitations to Challenge

1 year

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Ohio adoption attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more information on Ohio’s adoption laws, feel free to click on the links provided below for access to related resources. If you’re looking for more general information, visit FindLaw’s adoption section to get an overview of issues such as: how to adopt, types of adoption, international adoption, and same-sex adoption. Finally, if you are in the process of adopting, or are considering adoption, you may want to contact a local adoption attorney to answer your questions and ensure that your legal rights as a future parent are protected.

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