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May 2019 Archives

Consents Necessary to Adoption

Before an adoption can be finalized, certain parties must consent to the adoption. Pursuant to 23 Pa. C.S. Section 2711, a consent must be signed by the following individuals where applicable: (1) the child(ren) being adopted if over 12 years of age; (2) the spouse of the adopting parent if that spouse is not also a petitioner; (3) the natural parent(s) of any minor child(ren) being adopted; (4) the guardian of an incapacitated child up for adoption; and (5) the guardian of a minor child or persons having custody when the adoptee has no parent whose consent is required. Only the consent of the adoptee is needed for an adult adoption. Consents of the natural parents should include the date, full address of place of execution, and be witnessed by two adults whose name, address and relationship to the person executing the consent are provided.

Adopting Multiple Children

Where parent(s) are adopting more than one child, most of the adoption procedures are the same. The home study will be waived if it is a kinship adoption. If a home study is required find an approved social worker or contact your local Children & Youth services agency. Background checks will be required for the adopting parent(s). Presently, there are three background checks required: (1) Child Abuse History Clearance; (2) PA State Police Criminal Record Check; and (3) FBI Criminal Background Check through the Department of Welfare. The rights of the natural parent(s) must be terminated in connection with the adoption. This may entail multiple petitions for termination of rights depending on whether the adoptees have the same parents.

Adoption Appeals

Decrees in adoption matters are permanent in nature. If you disagree with the entry of a decree in an adoption case, you need to file an appeal right away to preserve your right to contest. The rules for appeal in an adoption matter follow the general rules for appeal meaning you have thirty days from the date of the Order to file an appeal. Notice of appeal should be filed with the court where the matter was heard. Any applicable filing fee is due to the court at the time of filing. If applicable, you will need to order the transcript from the hearing resulting in the Order you are appealing. There is a cost for the transcript as well which varies depending on the length of the proceedings. You should get in touch with the court reporter or court administration to order a copy of the transcript.

Name Change through Adoption

If you are adopting a minor child, a name change can be accomplished as part of the adoption. Specifically, the final adoption decree can include the desired new name for the child. This certified decree along with vital records request form can be used to change the child's name on their birth certificate as well as social security records. Vital records does assess a cost for a new birth certificate. If looking to change your name as an adult pursuant to an adoption, you must also follow the steps for a civil name change.

Cohabiting and Ending Alimony in PA

Both cohabitation and remarriage are grounds for termination of alimony in Pennsylvania. In the case of remarriage, a court-ordered alimony award is terminated automatically upon the receiving spouse's remarriage. However, if the couple settled outside of court, the divorce settlement must include a statement terminating alimony upon remarriage in order for it to end. Most divorce agreements in PA do include such a provision.

Is There Permanent Alimony in PA?

Alimony in Pennsylvania is usually awarded as rehabilitative or reimbursement alimony. As it sounds, reimbursement alimony helps to pay back a spouse for helping with some major expense of the ex-spouse, often education. Rehabilitative alimony is generally awarded for a fixed time period to give the receiving spouse time to receive training or otherwise become self-supporting.

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