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Massachusetts Adoption Laws

Adopting a child can be a joyous occasion for prospective parents, and a chance to celebrate an addition your family. That said, the adoption process can be complicated, both emotionally and legally. Each state has laws regarding who can adopt, who can be adopted, and how, and these laws can be hard to figure out. So here is a quick summary of adoption laws in Massachusetts.

State Adoption Laws

Regulations and laws regarding adoption, including who may adopt and special requirements for adoptive parents, are similar among most states. While there may be minor differences in the statutes, states generally keep adoption regulations things pretty uniform. Massachusetts children 12 and older must give consent to adoption. Adoption is such a complicated (and important) process, it is wise to contact an experienced attorney for assistance.

Adoption Statutes in Massachusetts

The various state adoption laws can differ depending on where you live. Below are some of the highlights of Massachusetts adoption laws, including regulations on who may adopt, child consent requirements, and the relevant procedures.

Code Section

Ch. 210; No

Who May Be Adopted

Any person younger than adopter; special requirements are needed for child under age 14.

Age that Child's Consent Needed

12 years and older

Who May Adopt

Any person of full age, his spouse joining, may, subject to certain exceptions, petition to adopt any person younger than himself (other than petitioner's spouse, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle of whole or half blood).

Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption?

6 months if adoptee is under 14 unless requirement waived

State Agency/Court

Social Services/Probate

Statute of Limitations to Challenge

120 days for appeal; may only be made by a parent

In most cases, any married couple or single adult is eligible to adopt. Thus far, the laws in most states are largely silent on the issue of adoption by gay and lesbian individuals: only Utah and Mississippi have banned same sex couples from adopting. In nearly every adoption case, judges in adoption courts will consider the child’s best interests when making adoption decisions.

Related Resources for Massachusetts Adoption Laws:

Depending on the circumstances of your adoption, the applicable state law can vary greatly. You can review specific statutes in FindLaw’s adoption law section or get a more general overview in our adoption section. If you would like legal assistance, you can schedule a consultation with an experienced adoption attorney in Massachusetts to discuss your case.

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