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Maine Adoption Laws

Each state creates its own laws to regulate the adoption process, and they can vary quite a bit from one state to another. Adoption laws regulate who can adopt, who can be adopted, and the procedures for adoption. Maine permits any child or adult to be adopted.

Read on to learn more about Maine adoption laws.

Types of Adoption

One of the ways people adopt is through the state foster care system. To become a foster parent in Maine, you must be able to adequately support yourself and have a stable lifestyle. However, renting, living in a mobile home, working outside the home, being a senior, or having a disability all do not disqualify you from fostering.

Others adopt internationally. While your foreign adoption proceeding may be finalized abroad, you can get the adoption recognized in Maine by filing an adoption petition for $65.

Representation for Biological Parents

Maine requires legal representation during adoptions and termination of parental rights-related hearings. If the biological parent can't afford an attorney, they can request the court to appoint an attorney. However, adoptive parents must provide their own attorneys.

Confidentiality of Adoption Records

Court records are usually available to the public. However, since 1953, Maine adoption records are confidential. However, medical or genetic information in the court adoption records must be made available to the adopted child when he or she turns 18 and to his or her children and adoptive parents or legal guardians, after petitioning the court to request the information.

The table below lists some of the basics of Maine's adoption laws.

Code Section Maine Code Revised Title 18A, Article 9: The Adoption Act
Who Can Be Adopted? Any person, child or adult, can be adopted in Maine.
Who Can Adopt? Married couples jointly or unmarried persons, resident or non-resident, can petition to adopt a child or adult in Maine.
Consent for Adoption Any adoptee at least 12 years of age or older must consent to the adoption. However, note any adoptee can be interviewed by the judge overseeing the adoption outside the presence of the prospective adoptive parents to determine their attitude and desires. In addition, any of the adoptee's living parents, the agency having custody of the child, and the guardian appointed for the court if he or she has no living parent or custodian must consent as well.
Home Residency Requirement At the discretion of the court, one year may of home residency may be required before the finalization of an adoption.
State Agency Maine's Department of Human Services Child and Family Services office provides the state licensing of adoption agencies in Maine, takes care of foster care administration, etc.
State Court Adoptions are conducted at the local probate court in Maine.
Annulment Adoption decrees can be annulled (voided or canceled) on the petition of two or more people for fraud, duress, or illegal procedures, or if it's shown to be in the best interest of the adopted child within one year and after a notice and hearing.

Whether you're adopting as a stepparent, another relative, through foster care, or any other way, you may want to speak to an experienced adoption attorney to make the expansion of your family go as smoothly as possible.

Note: State laws change often, contact a lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify these adoption laws.

Research the Law

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.

Get Legal Help With an Adoption

Adoption can be a complicated process. There are many state and federal laws that govern adoption. An attorney will help you navigate these laws. They will help review your case, provide helpful legal advice, and advocate for you and your future child.

If you would like legal assistance with an adoption case, you can find an experienced Maine adoption attorney in your area to schedule a consultation.

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