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Revocation of Consent in Adoptions

One of the ways an adoption can proceed is if the natural parent(s) consent to the adoption. There are several timing rules that must be adhered to. First, the consent cannot be signed by a natural mother within 72 hours, or three days, after the birth of a child. A consent can be signed by a natural father at any time after he has been notified the child is expected to be born or has been born. Executed consents become irrevocable after 30 days. They can be revoked on the basis of fraud or duress only within 60 days.

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In re Adoption of J.A.S., 939 A.2d 403 (Pa.Super.2007), the Superior Court had to weigh in on when a court can consider the validity of a consent. The facts indicated the birth mother filed a Petition to revoke her prior consent to adoption on the basis it was not valid approx. 6 months after signing the consent. Initially, the trial court declined to address the opposing petition which asserted the time frame to revoke the consent had elapsed and so the court could not review its validity. The Supreme Court ruled that the issue of timeliness must be the first consideration. Therefore, since birth mother had not filed within sixty (60) days the court could not give consideration to the validity of the consent. This case highlights the importance of finality in adoption matters through strict interpretation of the statute for the sake of the children and adopting parents involved.

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