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Missouri Adoption Laws

State laws govern and regulate the adoption process, including requirements for adults who wish to adopt, the age at which a child's consent is needed, home residency requirements, and other factors. For instance, Missouri adoption laws state that adoption shall not be delayed on the basis of race or national origin, but that placement will be prioritized by ethnic and racial compatibility (if possible).

This article provides a brief overview of adoption laws in the state of Missouri.

Missouri Adoption Laws: At a Glance

Missouri adoption laws are not too different than those of other states. Virtually any adult over the age of 21 (single or married, with or without children) is eligible to adopt a child, but must also:

  • Be in good health (mental and physical)
  • Pass a child abuse and criminal record background check (including fingerprints)
  • Have a relatively stable income
  • Live in a structure (house, apartment, etc.) that meets licensing standards
  • Be willing to work with the child's birth family (if applicable)
  • Complete a training and assessment process

Overview of Missouri Adoption Laws

The following chart provides additional details about Missouri adoption laws and processes. See FindLaw's Adoption section if you would like to learn more about adoption in general.

Code Section

 § 453.010 et seq. of the Revised Statutes of Missouri

Who May Be Adopted

Any person

Age That Child's Consent Needed

14 years and older

Who May Adopt

The court may order a joinder for the spouse of the petitioner

Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption?

Six months, may be waived by the court in certain circumstances

State Agency/Court

Social Services, Family Services Division/Juvenile Div. of Circuit Court

Statute of Limitations to Challenge

One year

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Missouri Adoption Laws: Related Resources

Adopting a Child in Missouri? Consult With an Attorney First

Adoption is a complicated process, and the procedures may vary depending on the type of adoption you are pursuing. But since the stakes are so high -- nothing less than life-altering for your family -- it's important to do it right. If you have any questions about the process, it's in your best interests to contact a Missouri family law attorney at your earliest convenience.

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