Can parents withdraw their consent to the adoption of their birth child?
When a person signs their consent to place a child up for adoption, as long as their consent was done properly, it will be very difficult to take back.
This past January the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed the adoption of a child due to problems with the biological parent’s attempts to withdraw their written consent (Contis v. Contis). The problem was not the form of the consent, only that the adoption went forward without first hearing from the birth parents regarding their request to withdraw their consent.
Section 63-9-330 of the South Carolina Code of Law sets out the rules governing a valid consent to adopt. Section 63-9-350 provides the rules to find the consent invalid. A separate hearing must be held, before the adoption, and involving all parties. The court must then find that the “withdrawal is in the best interests of the child and that the consent or relinquishment was not given voluntarily or was obtained under duress or through coercion.”
The problem in Contis v Contis was that no hearing was ever held to hear the birth parents claims that withdrawing consent was in the best interests of the child and that their consent was “obtained under duress and through coercion.”
Contis is back in the Charleston Family Court. I expect a hearing on birth parents request to withdraw their consent, followed by appeals from the losing party, so stay tuned!