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New Mexico Adoption Laws

Adoption can be a happy time in the life of the newly expanded family. But, if you're considering adoption, you may have noticed how the adoption process can be complicated. Each state regulates who can adopt, who can be adopted, and other requirements for adoption.

This is a brief introduction to adoption laws in New Mexico.

New Mexico Adoption Laws

The following table details the main adoption laws in New Mexico.

Code Sections New Mexico Statutes in Children's CodeChapter 32A
Who Can Be Adopted Any child or any adult can be adopted (children 14 or older must give consent)
Who Can Adopt Any individual approved by the court as a suitable adoptive parent can adopt. If the person petitioning to adopt is married, his or her spouse must also join the adoption petition, unless they are the natural parent of the adoptee or he or she is legally separated or otherwise excused from joining by the court. Non-residents can adopt in New Mexico if the adoptee is a resident or was born in the state, is less than 6 months old, and was placed by the state agency or an adoption agency licensed in New Mexico.
Consent of Adopted Child Any child or adult who is at least 14 years old and has the mental capacity to give consent must consent to be adopted (if the adoptee lacks capacity, their legal guardian can consent). The consent must be in writing and explained in the first language of the consenting person (when not in English). Also, the adoptee's mother, presumed or acknowledged father, and proposed adoptive parent(s) must consent to the adoption, relinquish parental rights, or have had parental rights terminated. Also, for Native American children, the “Indian custodian" must consent, as required by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978.
   
Home Residency New Mexico law requires the adoption petition to be filed within 60 days of placement if the child is less than a year old when placed. For older minor adoptees, the petition must be filed within 120 days. Extensions up to an additional 180 days are available upon timely request.
State Agency The New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department is the state agency involved in the adoption of minors who are in foster care.
State Court Child adoptions are heard by the local Children's Court Division. Adult adoptions are handled by the local district court.
Statute of Limitations The time period in which a lawsuit can be brought is called the “statute of limitations." A person must challenge the adoption for fraud or other legality problems within one year. However, if a Native American child is involved, ICWA law prevails over federal law.

If you're ready to adopt, you may want to contact an experienced New Mexico adoption lawyer to make sure you understand your options and to address your unique situation, from stepparent to international adoption.

Note: State laws are revised regularly, so please 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 New Mexico adoption attorney in your area to schedule a consultation.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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