Contesting Intra-Family Adoption
There are many steps and tests required by law in contested adoption proceedings. These can mainly be found in the Louisiana Children’s Code, with which our firm is very familiar. The Louisiana Children’s Code was drafted to combine all the laws affecting juvenile court jurisdiction, resolve ambiguities, reconcile conflicting laws, ensure that statutory law accurately reflects settled case law and provide a single code containing procedural and substantive laws affecting juveniles.
Some interesting concepts are articulated in these cases and may be useful in your case too:
- When a stepparent or parent with custody fails to cooperate with the natural father’s attempts to visit and communicate with the child, then the father may demonstrate “just cause” for failing to visit or communicate with the child for purposes of the statute governing intra-family adoption. In re Puckett, 137 So.3d 1264 (La.App. 2 Cir. 4/17/14).
- A parent’s incarceration is not just cause for failing to pay child support or communicate with the child, as would preclude intra-family adoption without such parent’s consent. In re Fleming, 817 So.2d 371 (La.App. 5 Cir. 4/30/02).
- Imprisonment of natural father was insufficient justification for natural father’s failure to support and communicate with his child, and natural father’s consent was not necessary for child’s adoption by stepfather. In re Adoption of Broussard, 469 So.2d 454 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1985).
- Party petitioning court for adoption carries burden of proving that parent’s consent is not required under law by clear and convincing evidence; once prima facie case is proven, burden of proof shifts to non-consenting parent to show that his failure to visit children or to comply with child support order was due to factors beyond his control. La. Ch.C. art. 1245; In re R.A.L., 323 So. 3d 1006 (La. App. 2 Cir. 7/14/21).