In Nevada, an adoption is a permanent process where the individual or married couple becomes the child’s legal parent. Once approved, the adoption takes away the biological parent's rights to the child. In some instances it is also possible to adopt an adult.
Adoption is a rewarding experience. It may also have legal and emotional challenges. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the adoption process. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have over 25 years of experience. Contact us today for a consultation.
What Does Nevada Require for the Adoption of a Minor Child?
Nevada requires a court order for the adoption of any minor child whose home state is Nevada.
Under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 127.018(2) “home state” means:
- The state in which a child lived for at least six consecutive months, including any temporary absence from the state, immediately before the commencement of a proceeding; or
- In the case of a child less than six months of age, the state in which the child lived from birth, including any temporary absence from the state.
Nevada Jurisdiction Exceptions
Nevada may not have jurisdiction over all children residing in Nevada. The district courts in Nevada do not have jurisdiction if:
- The child involved is subject to the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Are There Age Restrictions?
In Nevada, “a person adopting a child must be at least 10 years older than the person adopted.” If the child is over the age of 14, the adoption requires the child’s consent.
NRS127.020(2) provides an exception to the age restriction. A court may approve the adoption of a child without regard to the child’s age and the ages of the prospective adoptive parents if:
- The child is being adopted by a stepparent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle or first cousin and, if the prospective adoptive parent is married, also by the spouse of the prospective adoptive parent; and
- The court is satisfied that it is in the best interest of the child and in the interest of the public.
Who May Petition the Court to Adopt a Child?
In Nevada, any “adult person or two persons married to each other" may petition the court to adopt a child.
What Consent is Required to Adopt a Child?
A married person not lawfully separated from his or her spouse may not adopt a child without their spouse’s consent. A married person does not need their spouse’s consent if the spouse:
- Lacks the capacity to consent.
- Cannot be located after a diligent search.
Pursuant to NRS 127.040(1), the adoption requires written consent from:
- Both parents if both are living;
- One parent if the other is dead; or
- The guardian of the person of a child appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Exceptions to Parental Consent
Consent is not necessary in all circumstances. The court does not require consent of a parent to an adoption where:
- A court order has terminated their parental rights.
- The parent has been adjudged insane for two years and the court is “satisfied by proof that such insanity is incurable."
Is a Parent’s Consent Always Valid?
In Nevada, there are certain times a parent’s consent for their child’s adoption may not be valid. Under NRS 127.070(1), the mother’s consent to adoption is invalid if she executes it:
- Before the birth of a child.
- Within 72 hours after the birth of a child.
Under NRS 127.070(2), if the father of the child is not married to the mother:
- The father may execute a release for or consent to adoption before the birth of the child.
The father’s release becomes invalid if:
- The father of the child marries the mother of the child before the child’s birth;
- The mother of the child does not execute a release for or consent to adoption of the child within six months after the child’s birth; or
- No petition for adoption of the child has been filed within two years after the birth of the child.
Is a Home Study Required?
A home study is usually required for anyone adopting a child. A home study may not be required if the adoptive parent is a relative. The child welfare agency or private adoption agency facilitating the adoption can provide additional information regarding the home study.
What Happens When the Court Finalizes the Adoption?
Once the court enters the adoption order:
- The child is the legal child of the persons adopting the child.
- The parents are the child’s legal parents.
After the court enters the adoption order, the natural parents of the adopted child:
- Are relieved of all parental responsibilities for the adopted child.
- No longer have any rights over the adopted child or the adopted child’s property.
The natural parent(s) and the prospective adoptive parent(s) may enter into an agreement that provides for postadoptive contact between:
- The child and his or her natural parent or parents;
- The adoptive parent or parents and the natural parent or parents; or
- Any combination thereof.
The agreement must meet certain requirements to be enforceable. An experienced adoption lawyer can advise you of the requirements. Anthem Divorce Lawyers have adoption experience. Contact us today for a consultation.
Is It Possible to Adopt an Adult?
In Nevada, it is possible to adopt an adult. The process is much simpler than the process to adopt a child.
Are There Age Restrictions for Adult Adoption in Nevada?
NRS 127.190(1) provides in part, “any adult person may adopt any other adult person younger than himself or herself.”
What Happens in an Adult Adoption?
In an adult adoption, the parties agree in writing to:
- Assume toward each other the legal relation of parent and child.
- Have all of the rights and be subject to all of the duties and responsibilities of that relation.
The parties must:
- Fill out and file the proper paperwork.
- Attend the adoption hearing.
Attend the adoption hearing.
What Consent is Required to Adopt an Adult?
A married person may be required to get the consent of their spouse before they can adopt an adult. The person to be adopted may also have to get the consent of their spouse before they can be adopted. The court does not require anyone else’s consent. Under NRS 127.200(3), adult adoption does not require the “consent of the natural parent or parents of the person to be adopted.”
What Happens at the Adult Adoption Hearing?
At the hearing, the court examines the parties. If a party is not present, the court examines the counsel of the party. The court approves the agreement of adoption and enters a decree of adoption if:
- The court is satisfied that the adoption will be for the best interests of the parties and in the public interest.
- There is no reason why the court should not grant the petition.
The decree of adoption declares “that the person adopted is the child of the person adopting him or her."
Experienced Adoption Lawyers
A Nevada adoption can be a complicated process. The team at Anthem Divorce Lawyers can help you navigate the Nevada adoption process. Our office is in Henderson, Nevada and we work with clients all over the Las Vegas area. Contact us today for a consultation.