Adoption Law Massachusetts

  1. A person of full age may petition the probate court in the county where he resides for leave to adopt as his child another person younger to him.
  2. If a person not an inhabitant of this commonwealth desires to adopt a child residing here, the petition may be made to the probate court in the county where the child resides.
  3. A minor may likewise petition, or join in the petition of his or her wife or husband, for the adoption of a natural child of one of the parties.
  4. The prayer of the petition may be granted despite the fact that the spouse o th petitioner is not a party to the petition if the court finds:
    1. the failure of the spouse to join in the petition or to consent to the adoption is excused by reason of prolonged unexplained absence, legal separation, incapacity or circumstances constituting an unreasonable withholding of consent;
    2. the husband and wife are not in the process of an ongoing divorce; and
    3. the granting of the petition is in the best interests of the child.
  5. A decree of adoption shall made with the written consent of
    1. the child to be adopted, if above the age of twelve;
    2. the child's spouse, if any;
    3. the lawful parents, who may be previous adoptive parents, or surviving parent; or
    4. the mother only if the child was born out of wedlock and not previously adopted.
  6. Such written consent shall be executed after the fourth calendar day of the date of birth of the child to be adopted.
  7. It shall be attested and subscribed before a notary public in the presence of two competent witnesses, one of whom shall be selected by said person.
  8. The agency or person receiving custody shall act as guardian of the child until such time as a court of competent jurisdiction appoints a guardian or grants a petition for adoption.
  9. Execution of such consent shall be carried out in a manner which shall preserve privacy and confidentiality.
  10. A copy of said consent shall be filed with the department of social services.
  1. Whenever the mother of a child born out of wedlock has surrendered the child, or whenever the right of such mother to withhold consent for adoption has been terminated notice of such surrender or termination and a right to petition for adoption is afforded to person who has filed a declaration seeking to assert the responsibilities of fatherhood (called the Parental responsibility).
  2. The paternal responsibility claim shall be filed with the department of social services.
  3. The department shall provide the person filing with evidence of the filing within five days and shall at the same time, send notice of the filing to such mother by registered mail at her address as stated on the paternal responsibility claim.
  4. If such a paternal responsibility claim has been filed, the department shall, notify the person claiming paternity by registered mail, at the address stated on said paternal responsibility claim, that the child is in the care of a licensed placement agency which is planning for the adoption of the child.
  5. The person claiming paternity may within thirty days from the date of mailing of said notice file a petition for adoption or custody of such child in the probate court of the county where the agency is located.
  6. If he fails to do so, he shall not be entitled to notice of any subsequent proceeding concerning custody, guardianship, or adoption of the child.
  7. The court shall consider the case as expeditiously as possible, and, without regard to other potential adoptive parents.
  1. Following the making of a decree of adoption the court shall issue to the petitioner, or petitioners, a certificate of adoption setting forth all the facts relating to the adopting parent, or parents the name of, and all other facts relating to:
    1. the person adopted, as appearing in any copy of birth record or decree of adoption filed as required by said section,
    2. the name of the court making such decree and the date thereof, and,
    3. if such decree authorizes a change in the name of the person adopted, his name as so changed; provided, that if such person has been born out of wedlock, the name, or names, of, and all other facts relating to, his natural parent, or parents, shall be omitted from such certificate.
  2. The court shall send a certified copy of such certificate to the clerk of the city or town where such person was born.