Missouri does not have a marriage requirement when it comes to adopting a child. Whether you are married or single, as long as you are willing to provide a stable home to the new addition to your family and go through the proper processes, you can pursue adoption.
The law is not concerned with your marital status; rather, it is focused on the health and well-being of the child and the adoptive parent's ability to provide a nurturing environment. That said, the adoption process entails several steps to ensure that prospective parents meet standards. The process is the same whether you are single or married, and it can be overwhelming either way.
Welcoming a new member to your family through adoption can be an exciting time, and it is important to know what the process entails and what factors you might consider.
Adoption Guidelines in Missouri
If you are not married, you must still meet the minimum age, background check, home study, and income requirements. These requirements are not exclusive to single individuals looking to adopt; they apply to all persons in Missouri.
The adoption requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Being 21 years of age or older
- Completing a child abuse/neglect check
- Completing a background check
- Being in good physical and mental health
- Having a stable income
Additionally, you will have to complete a home study. This step involves an authorized person collecting information about you and your home. They will visit your residence and conduct interviews to determine whether you can provide a safe, loving environment for your adopted child.
Consent from the Child or Parents
Before the adoption can be finalized, either the child you are adopting and/or their parent(s) must give consent with limited exceptions. Under Revised Statutes of Missouri § 453.030(2), if the child is 14 years of age or older, they must give their written consent to be adopted.
Typically, if you are adopting a child under 18 years of age, you will also need the legal parent's written consent.
The legal parent may include:
- The child's biological mother;
- The man:
- Presumed by law to be the child's father, or
- Who has filed an action to establish paternity; or
- The child's current adoptive parents (or any individuals recognized by law as the child's parents)
Exceptions to the parental consent requirement exist.
These include situations in which:
- Parental rights have been terminated
- The child's parent has consented to future adoptions
- The child's parent's identity is unknown
- A man files a statement denying paternity
- A parent who fails to appear for adoption or termination of parental rights proceedings
- A parent has a mental condition preventing them from providing proper care, custody, and control to the child
- A parent who has abandoned the child
Support from Others
Receiving support from others is not concerned with financial assistance. Instead, it is focused on the emotional/mental support you receive from others. Bringing a child into your home is rewarding, but it can, at times, be challenging.
Single individuals – as well as married couples – often find that having a close network of friends and family members can provide relief and help. You must consider various factors when you adopt, such as planning for child care when you return to work or need to take care of errands. It is nice to have people you can trust by your side.
If you are considering adopting in St. Charles, speak with our team at Smith Law Offices, LLC by calling (636) 400-1177 or submitting an online contact form today. We will deliver the compassionate guidance you need.