The Probate Court and Adoption
Sean Michael Peoples, partner at Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP
In Connecticut, a Probate Court has the authority to approve adoptions. Through the adoption process, the legal relationship of child and parent is created.
The adoption process begins when a person wanting to adopt a child completes a written application. An adoption agreement is also required. The adoption agreement is between both the person looking to adopt and the person or agency giving the child for adoption. A child age twelve or older must consent to the adoption.
For a child to be considered for adoption, two requirements must be met. The first requirement is that a child is “free for adoption.” A child is deemed free for adoption if all parental rights over the child have been terminated or if both parents of the child are deceased.
The second requirement is that a person or agency “gives a child in adoption.” The following people may give a child in adoption: a guardian of the person to a child’s qualifying relative, a statutory parent to another adult or a parent to his or her spouse if the parent was single when he or she first adopted the child, the child was born out-of-wedlock and the child’s father has no parental rights to the child, or the parent’s parental rights have been terminated or the parent has died. Even if these arrangements exist, the Probate Court must still approve the adoption.
A person looking to adopt a child must complete both a written application and an adoption agreement. The parties to the agreement are both the person looking to adopt the child and the person or agency giving the child for adoption. A person looking to adopt a child age twelve or older must receive the child’s consent before the Probate Court approves the adoption.
Once the proper forms are complete, the Probate Court can next order an investigation. The purpose of this investigation is to evaluate the child’s needs and the ability of the potential adoptive parent to meet those needs. After the investigation has concluded, the Probate Court will schedule a hearing. At this hearing, the Probate Court may approve the adoption of the child, so long as the court finds that the adoption is in the child’s best interests. The Probate Court is prohibited from considering factors such as the adoptive parent’s marital status, race, religion or sexual orientation. All records and files related to the adoption are sealed from the public.
The Glastonbury-Hebron Probate District reported seventeen (17) adoptions during 2016.
If you have any questions, please contact the Glastonbury-Hebron Probate Court, located at 2143 Main Street in Glastonbury. The Court’s hours of operation are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Telephone: (860) 652-7629.