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Wisconsin Adoption Laws

Adopting a child can be a joyous celebration of an expanded family - but not always a simple one. The legal requirements surrounding adoption can make it a complex and potentially confusing process. State laws defining who can adopt, who can be adopted, and how one can adopt can be confusing and require close scrutiny. So here is a brief break down of adoption laws in Wisconsin.

The legal regulations regarding adoption, including who is allowed to adopt and the special requirements for adoptive parents, are generally similar from state to state. For example, Wisconsin law requires a couple to live in the state for at least six months before adopting a child and generally doesn't require a child's consent. Adoption is such a complicated and significant process; you may want to contact an attorney for assistance in understanding the process and your legal requirements as an adoptive parent.

Adoption Laws in Wisconsin

Below are some of the basic rules surrounding Wisconsin adoption. See Details of State Adoption Laws to learn more.

Code Section 48.81, et seq.; 882.04; 808.04(7); No
Who May Be Adopted Any person minor; adult
Age that Child's Consent Needed No child's consent required; however, minors 12 and older must attend hearing unless court orders otherwise.
Who May Adopt Unmarried adult, husband and wife jointly, spouse of minor's parent may adopt minor. Must be Wisconsin residents and (if practicable and if requested by birth parent) of same religion as adoptee's natural parents. Any resident adult may adopt any other adult.
Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption? 6 months
State Agency/Court Department of Health & Social Services/Circuit
Statute of Limitations to Challenge 40 days

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

Eligibility for Adoption in General

In most states, any single adult or a married couple together is eligible to adopt a child. A stepparent may also be eligible to adopt the birth child of his or her spouse. In some states, married persons are allowed to adopt without their spouse’s consent if their spouse is legally incompetent or if they are legally separated from their spouse. Many states have adoption courts, which look to serve the best interests of a child when it comes to adoption decisions.

Related Resources for Adoption Laws:

State standards and regulations concerning adoption can be complex and are subject to change. You can visit FindLaw’s Adoption Laws section to review some of these laws, and get a more general overview in our Adoption section. If you would like legal assistance with an adoption case, you can find an experienced Wisconsin adoption attorney in your area to schedule a consultation.

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