Adoption is regulated primarily at the state level, and laws tend to vary quite a bit from one state to the next. According to Delaware adoption laws, any minor or adult (consent needed at age 14 and older) may be adopted by an adult over the age of 21. The state also requires at least 6 months of home residency prior to finalization of the adoption.
The following table highlights the main provisions of Delaware's adoption laws, and an in-depth discussion follows. See FindLaw's Adoption section to learn more.
|Code Section||Tit. 13, §§901 to 965; No|
|Who May Be Adopted||Any person|
|Age that Child's Consent Needed||14 years and older, unless court waives consent in best interest of child|
|Who May Adopt||Unmarried person; divorced or legally separated person; spouses who are living together. Must be legal resident of Delaware and over 21.|
|Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption?||6 months|
|State Agency/Court||Dept. of Services for Children, Youth & Families/Family|
|Statute of Limitations to Challenge||6 months|
Who may adopt?
In Delaware, any adult person over the age of eighteen may adopt. Normally, spouses will adopt jointly, but Delaware allows only one spouse to adopt as well. If unmarried, only one person may file for adoption.
Whose consent is needed for adoption?
Consent of the adoptee is needed if they are 14 years or older.
Open vs. Closed Adoptions
Many adopting parents and birth parents may be concerned about a child's ability to find the birth parents after the adoption. If the birth parents do not want the child to be able to find them, this is called a closed adoption. However, for medical reasons, some records may be maintained to help track genetic disorders, or for organ compatibility. If the birth parents and adopting parents want the child to be able to find the birth parents, this is called an open adoption. Sometimes the process for relocating the birth parents may be difficult, even if their names and birth location are known.
If you would like to know more about adoption laws, and whether you fit the requirements for adoption, there are many attorneys throughout Delaware with adoption law experience who may be able to help. In addition to helping you understand the legal requirements for adoption, they may be able to help you navigate legal issues surrounding same sex adoption, international adoption, and open versus closed adoptions.
Contact a qualified attorney.