State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title1 > Chapter22

CHAPTER 22 - ADOPTION

 

ARTICLE 1 - IN GENERAL

 

1-22-101. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this act:

 

(i) "Agency" means any person legally empowered toplace children for adoption or a certified private child welfare agency or thedepartment of family services;

 

(ii) "Child" means the minor person to be adopted;

 

(iii) "Parent" means the child's father or mother whoseparental rights have not been judicially terminated;

 

(iv) "Putative father" means the alleged or reputedfather of a child born out of wedlock, whether or not the paternity rights andobligations of the father have been judicially determined;

 

(v) "This act" means W.S. 1-22-101 through 1-22-114.

 

1-22-102. Persons subject to adoption.

 

(a) Any child may be adopted who is within this state when thepetition for adoption is filed.

 

(b) Any adult may be adopted, regardless of his residencewithin or outside of this state at the time the petition is filed, provided:

 

(i) The adopting parent was a stepparent, grandparent or otherblood relative, foster parent or legal guardian who participated in the raisingof the adult when the adult was a child; and

 

(ii) The adult files a consent to the adoption with the court.

 

1-22-103. Adopting parties.

 

Anyadult person who has resided in this state during the sixty (60) daysimmediately preceding the filing of the petition for adoption and who isdetermined by the court to be fit and competent to be a parent may adopt inaccordance with this act.

 

1-22-104. Petition for adoption of minor; by whom filed; requisites;confidential nature; inspection; separate journal to be kept.

 

(a) Adoption proceedings shall be commenced by a petition filedin district court. The district court may transfer jurisdiction of a petitionto adopt a child to the juvenile court if the child proposed for adoption inthe petition is under the prior and continuing jurisdiction of the juvenilecourt.

 

(b) A petition may be filed by any single adult or jointly by ahusband and wife who maintain their home together, or by either the husband orwife if the other spouse is a parent of the child.

 

(c) The following documents shall be filed with every petitionto adopt a child:

 

(i) The appropriate consent to adoption pursuant to W.S.1-22-109;

 

(ii) Any relinquishments as provided by W.S. 1-22-109 necessaryto show the court that the person or agency legally authorized to have custodyand control of the child prior to the adoption, has duly relinquished the childto the petitioners for adoption;

 

(iii) A report of the medical examination of the child made by alicensed Wyoming physician within thirty (30) days immediately preceding thefiling of the petition to adopt. The report shall be made on forms provided bythe department of family services. A medical report shall not be required whena parent of the child joins in the petition to adopt or when the child residedwith the adoptive parents for more than six (6) months prior to filing thepetition;

 

(iv) An affidavit from each petitioner setting forth:

 

(A) Any previous or current diagnosed psychiatric disorders ofthe petitioner;

 

(B) All felony convictions of the petitioner within thepreceding ten (10) years;

 

(C) All misdemeanor convictions of the petitioner within thepreceding five (5) years;

 

(D) The current parole or probation status of the petitioner,if any.

 

(v) An affidavit stating the name or names of persons awardedvisitation rights to the child under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102 or an affidavitstating that no visitation rights under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102 have beenawarded in regard to the child.

 

(d) The petition and documents filed pursuant to this section,and the interlocutory decree, if entered, and the final decree of adoptionshall constitute a confidential file and shall be available for inspection onlyto the judge, or, by order of court, to the parties to the proceedings or theirattorneys. Upon the entry of the final decree of adoption, all records in theproceedings shall be sealed and may be available for inspection only by orderof court for good cause shown. The clerk of court shall maintain a separatejournal for adoption proceedings to be confidential and available forinspection only by order of the court for good cause shown. The court may orderinspection of all or part of the confidential file in adoption proceedings onlyif it appears to the court that the welfare and best interests of the childwill be served by the inspection.

 

(e) The court may order inspection of all or any part of theconfidential file upon a proper motion made pursuant to W.S. 1-22-203(b). Anyorder permitting inspection under this subsection shall preserve the anonymityof the natural parents, the adoptive parents and the child and shall providethat the inspection is subject to the provisions of W.S. 1-22-203. Documentsfiled pursuant to W.S. 1-22-203(b) or this subsection shall become part of theconfidential file.

 

(f) For purposes of this section, "convicted"includes pleas of guilty, nolo contendere, verdicts of guilty upon which ajudgment of conviction may be rendered and dispositions pursuant to W.S.7-13-301 and 35-7-1037.

 

1-22-105. Hearings to be closed; attendance of parties.

 

(a) Unless the court orders a hearing in open court, allhearings in adoption proceedings shall be confidential and held in closed courtor court chambers. No person shall be admitted except court officials, partiesto the proceeding, counsel, nonconsenting parents, the nonconsenting putativefather of the child and witnesses.

 

(b) The petitioners and the child shall appear at the hearingunless excused by the court.

 

1-22-106. When petition to be filed; order for hearing.

 

Apetition to adopt a child shall be filed upon the entry of the child in theadoptive home or as soon thereafter as is reasonably convenient. When apetition is filed and presented to the judge, he shall set the petition forhearing. Any person whose consent to adoption is required by W.S. 1-22-109 andwhose consent has not been filed shall be ordered to appear on the day set andshow cause why the petition to adopt should not be granted and a decree ofadoption entered.

 

1-22-107. Service of petition and order; when service by publicationpermitted; exception.

 

(a) Prior to the hearing a copy of the petition to adopt achild and all orders to show cause shall be served on any persons whose consentto adoption is required by W.S. 1-22-109 and whose consent has not been filedwith the petition to adopt. Service shall be made in the same manner asprovided for by rule 4 of the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure and shall beaccomplished so that a default judgment could be rendered at the hearingagainst the person served. Service by publication is specifically allowed wherethe defendant resides out of state, or his residence cannot, with reasonablediligence, be ascertained.

 

(b) The petition and orders to show cause need not be servedupon parents or other persons whose rights to the child have been terminated ina prior judicial proceeding.

 

(c) Prior to the hearing a copy of the petition to adopt achild and an order to show cause shall be served on any persons awardedvisitation rights to the child under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102. The consent ofpersons awarded visitation rights to the adoption is not required. However, thecourt may exercise its discretion to allow those persons an opportunity to beheard if the court finds it to be in the best interest and welfare of thechild.

 

1-22-108. Hearing on petition and objections; findings by court;effect of default.

 

(a) When the persons required to be served as provided in W.S.1-22-107 have been served personally or by publication and do not appear at thehearing, a default shall be entered against them and they shall be bound by thefindings and judgment of the court.

 

(b) When any person whose consent is required objects to thepetition to adopt, he shall at least five (5) days before the hearing file hisobjections and serve them on all parties to the proceedings, including anyperson whose consent has been filed.

 

(c) If the putative father files and serves his objections tothe petition to adopt as provided in subsection (b) of this section, andappears at the hearing to acknowledge his paternity of the child, the courtshall hear the evidence in support of the petition to adopt and in support ofthe objection to the petition and shall then determine whether:

 

(i) The putative father's claim to paternity of the child isestablished;

 

(ii) The putative father having knowledge of the birth orpending birth of the child has evidenced an interest in and responsibility forthe child within thirty (30) days after receiving notice of the pending birthor birth of the child;

 

(iii) The putative father's objections to the petition to adoptare valid; and

 

(iv) The best interests and welfare of the child will be servedby granting the putative father's claim to paternity or by allowing thepetition to adopt.

 

(d) The putative father has no right to assert paternity inadoption, dependency or termination of parental rights proceedings unless he isknown and identified by the mother or agency, or unless he has lived with ormarried the mother after the birth of the child and prior to the filing of thepetition to adopt, and unless prior to the interlocutory hearing of theadoption proceedings, he has acknowledged the child as his own by affirmativelyasserting paternity as provided in this section or registered as a putativefather under W.S. 1-22-117.

 

(e) Based upon its determination and findings after a hearing,the court may enter its order or decree in accordance with W.S. 1-22-111.

 

1-22-109. Consent to adoption.

 

(a) A written relinquishment of custody of the child to beadopted and written consent to adoption shall be filed with the petition toadopt and shall be signed by:

 

(i) Both parents, if living; or

 

(ii) The surviving parent; or

 

(iii) The mother and putative father of the child if the name ofthe putative father is known; or

 

(iv) The mother alone if she does not know the name of theputative father, in which case she shall sign and file an affidavit so statingand the court shall determine whether the putative father has registered underW.S. 1-22-117 and if so, shall require notice to be given to the putativefather; or

 

(v) The legal guardian of the person of the child if neitherparent is living or if parental rights have been judicially terminated; or

 

(vi) The executive head of the agency to whom the child has beenrelinquished for adoption; or

 

(vii) The person having exclusive legal custody of the child bycourt order; or

 

(viii) The legally appointed guardian of any parent or putativefather who has been adjudged mentally incompetent.

 

(b) If the child to be adopted is over the age of fourteen (14)years his written consent to adoption shall also be filed with the petition toadopt.

 

(c) The consent to adoption shall be signed any time after thebirth of the child. The consent shall be acknowledged or may be approved in thefollowing manner:

 

(i) The consent shall be acknowledged by a:

 

(A) Person authorized to take acknowledgments;

 

(B) Representative of the department of family services; or

 

(C) Representative of a certified agency to whom the custody ofthe child is being relinquished for adoption.

 

(ii) If not acknowledged as provided in paragraph (i) of thissubsection, the consent to adoption may be approved by the court after:

 

(A) The person giving the consent has appeared before the courtin an informal hearing in court chambers; and

 

(B) The court finds that the consent is knowingly andvoluntarily given.

 

(d) Consent to adoption and the relinquishment of a child foradoption are irrevocable unless obtained by fraud or duress, except that if thecourt should deny the adoption on account of a claim or objection of theputative father of the child, the court may also allow the mother of the childto withdraw her consent and relinquishment. The consent or relinquishment by aparent who is a minor is valid and may not be revoked solely because ofminority.

 

(e) The consent to adoption and the relinquishment of custodyof a child for adoption may be contained in a single instrument.

 

1-22-110. When adoption permitted without consent.

 

(a) In addition to the exceptions contained in W.S. 1-22-108,the adoption of a child may be ordered without the written consent of a parentor the putative father if the court finds that the nonconsenting parent orputative father is unknown and that the putative father has not registeredunder W.S. 1-22-117 and the affidavit required by W.S. 1-22-109(a)(iv) has beenfiled with the petition to adopt or if the court finds that the putative fatheror the nonconsenting parent or parents have:

 

(i) Been given notice of the hearing as provided in W.S.1-22-107 and has failed to answer or appear at the hearing; or

 

(ii) Been judicially deprived of parental rights of the childfor any reason; or

 

(iii) Willfully abandoned or deserted the child; or

 

(iv) Willfully failed to contribute to the support of the childfor a period of one (1) year immediately prior to the filing of the petition toadopt and has failed to bring the support obligation current within sixty (60)days after service of the petition to adopt; or

 

(v) Willfully permitted the child to be maintained in or by apublic or private institution or by the department of family services for aperiod of one (1) year immediately prior to the filing of the petition withoutsubstantially contributing to the support of the child; or

 

(vi) Failed, within thirty (30) days after receiving notice ofthe pending birth or birth of the child, to advise or notify the agency whichgave the putative father the notice of pending birth or birth of his interestin or responsibility for the child or his declaration of paternity; or

 

(vii) Been adjudged by a court to be guilty of cruelty, abuse,neglect or mistreatment of the child; or

 

(viii) Caused the conception of the child born out of wedlock as aresult of sexual assault or incest for which he has been convicted; or

 

(ix) Willfully failed to pay a total dollar amount of at leastseventy percent (70%) of the court ordered support for a period of two (2)years or more and has failed to bring the support obligation one hundredpercent (100%) current within sixty (60) days after service of the petition toadopt.

 

(b) Any petition filed pursuant to paragraphs (a)(iv) or (ix)of this section shall contain a clear statement of the consequences of therespondent's failure to bring the support obligation current.

 

1-22-111. Decree; investigation; denial of adoption.

 

(a) After the petition to adopt has been filed and a hearingheld the court acting in the best interest and welfare of the child may makeany of the following orders:

 

(i) Enter an interlocutory decree of adoption giving the careand custody of the child to the petitioners pending further order of the court;

 

(ii) Defer entry of an interlocutory decree of adoption andorder the department of family services or a private licensed agency toinvestigate and report to the court the background of the child and of thepetitioners, and the medical, social and psychological background and status ofthe consenting parent and putative father. After a written report of theinvestigation is filed, the court shall determine if the adoption bypetitioners is in the best interest and welfare of the child and thereuponenter the appropriate order or decree;

 

(iii) Enter a final decree of adoption if the child has residedin the home of the petitioner for six (6) months; or

 

(iv) Deny the adoption if the court finds that the bestinterests and welfare of the child will be served by such denial.

 

(b) If the court denies the adoption it shall make an order forproper custody consistent with the best interest and welfare of the child.

 

1-22-112. Application for final decree.

 

(a) If an interlocutory decree has been entered petitioners mayapply for a final decree of adoption after the child has resided in the home ofthe petitioners for six (6) months and a hearing on the petition may berequired.

 

(b) If an interlocutory decree has not been entered a hearingon the petition for a final decree of adoption shall be set as provided in W.S.1-22-106, notice thereof shall be given as provided in W.S. 1-22-107 and afinal hearing shall be had on the petition.

 

1-22-113. Petition for adoption of an adult; consent required.

 

Whena petition to adopt an adult is filed a copy of the petition together with asummons issued as in other civil actions shall be served on the adult. If theadult objects to adoption by the petitioner the petition shall be dismissed.When the consent of the adult is given, the petition shall be granted and afinal decree of adoption made and entered. The decree may change the name ofthe adopted person.

 

1-22-114. Effect of adoption.

 

(a) Upon the entry of a final decree of adoption the former parent,guardian or putative father of the child shall have no right to the control orcustody of the child. The adopting persons shall have all of the rights andobligations respecting the child as if they were natural parents.

 

(b) Adopted persons may assume the surname of the adoptiveparent. They are entitled to the same rights of person and property as childrenand heirs at law of the persons who adopted them.

 

1-22-115. Subsidization of adoption; qualification for payments;authority to adopt rules and regulations.

 

(a) The department of family services may grant subsidypayments to the adoptive parent of a child or to another person on behalf ofthe child, if, at the time the child is placed for adoption:

 

(i) The child is in the legal custody of the department or aprivate child placement agency certified by the state and is legally availablefor adoption;

 

(ii) The department or a certified private child placementagency is financially responsible for the child;

 

(iii) Reasonable efforts to place the child for adoption prior toconsideration of a subsidy payment have been unsuccessful;

 

(iv) The child has special needs as determined by the division;and

 

(v) The department or a certified private child placementagency has determined the adoptive parent can provide for the nonfinancialneeds of the child.

 

(b) Subsidy payments under this section may provide for thecost of health, maintenance, medical and surgical treatment and costs incurredfor the adoption, care, training and education of the child.

 

(c) The determination of an adoptive parent's eligibility forsubsidy payments shall be made before the completion of the legal adoption ofthe child. All payments shall be reviewed not less than annually by thedepartment. Subsidy payments may continue, subject to rules and regulations ofthe department, for any adoptive parent terminating Wyoming residency with thechild in custody.

 

(d) The department of family services shall adopt a planpursuant to P.L. 96-272 and rules and regulations necessary for theadministration of this section.

 

(e) Subsidy payments made under this section shall:

 

(i) Not exceed the amount of payments for comparable assistanceunder foster care;

 

(ii) Be terminated or reduced if the need for payments has alteredor no longer exists as determined by the department or if the child has reachedthe age of majority; and

 

(iii) Be made from funds appropriated to the department forfoster care purposes.

 

(f) The department of family services may accept on behalf ofthe state any available federal funds for purposes consistent with thissection. The department shall administer the funds in conformance with thissection and the terms and conditions under which they are issued.

 

1-22-116. Medical history of natural parents and adoptive child.

 

Tothe extent available, the medical history of a child subject to adoption andhis natural parents, with information identifying the natural parentseliminated, shall be provided by an authorized agency or may be provided byorder of a court to the child's adoptive parent any time after the adoptiondecree or to the child after he attains the age of majority. The history shallinclude but not be limited to all available information regarding conditions ordiseases believed to be hereditary, any drugs or medication taken duringpregnancy by the child's natural mother and any other information which may bea factor influencing the child's present or future health. The department offamily services shall promulgate rules governing the release of medicalhistories under this section.

 

1-22-117. Putative father registry.

 

(a) The department of family services shall establish aputative father registry which shall record the names and addresses of:

 

(i) Any person adjudicated by a court of this state to be thefather of a child born out-of-wedlock;

 

(ii) Any person who has filed with the registry before or afterthe birth of a child out-of-wedlock, a notice of intent to claim paternity ofthe child;

 

(iii) Any person adjudicated by a court of another state orterritory of the United States to be the father of an out-of-wedlock child,where a certified copy of the court order has been filed with the registry bythat person or any other person; and

 

(iv) Any person who has filed with the registry an instrumentacknowledging paternity.

 

(b) A person filing a notice of intent to claim paternity of achild or an acknowledgement of paternity shall include therein his currentaddress and shall notify the registry of any change of address pursuant toprocedures prescribed by regulations of the department.

 

(c) A person who has filed a notice of intent to claimpaternity may at any time revoke a notice of intent to claim paternitypreviously filed therewith and, upon receipt of the notification by theregistry, the revoked notice of intent to claim paternity shall be deemed anullity nunc pro tunc.

 

(d) An unrevoked notice of intent to claim paternity of a childmay be introduced in evidence by any party, other than the person who filedsuch notice, in any proceeding in which such fact may be relevant.

 

(e) The department of family services shall, upon request,provide the names and addresses of persons listed with the registry to anycourt or authorized agency, and such information shall not be divulged to anyother person, except upon order of a court for good cause shown.

 

ARTICLE 2 - CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARIES

 

1-22-201. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this act:

 

(i) "Adoptee" means a person who, as a minor, wasadopted pursuant to a final decree of adoption entered by a court;

 

(ii) "Adoptive parent" means an adult who has become aparent of a minor through the legal process of adoption;

 

(iii) "Adult" means a person eighteen (18) years of ageor older;

 

(iv) "Biological grandparent" means a parent, by birthor adoption, of a biological parent;

 

(v) "Biological parent" means a parent, by birth, ofan adopted person;

 

(vi) "Biological sibling" means a sibling, by birth,of an adopted person;

 

(vii) "Chief justice" means the chief justice of theWyoming supreme court;

 

(viii) "Confidential intermediary" means a persontwenty-one (21) years of age or older who has completed a training program forconfidential intermediaries which meets the standards set forth by thecommission pursuant to W.S. 1-22-202(b) and who is authorized to inspectconfidential relinquishment and adoption records at the request of an adultadoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biologicalgrandparent;

 

(ix) "Consent" means voluntary, informed, writtenconsent. Consent always shall be preceded by an explanation that the consentpermits the confidential intermediary to arrange a personal contact amongbiological relatives;

 

(x) "Court" means any court of record withjurisdiction over the matter at issue;

 

(xi) "This act" means W.S. 1-22-201 through 1-22-203.

 

1-22-202. Commission created; powers; duties.

 

(a) There is hereby created within the department of familyservices, an adoption intermediary commission of five (5) members.Representation and appointment of the members shall be as follows:

 

(i) One (1) member shall represent the judicial branch andshall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the chief justice;

 

(ii) One (1) member shall represent the department of familyservices and shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director ofthe department;

 

(iii) One (1) member shall represent private adoption agenciesand shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director of thedepartment of family services;

 

(iv) One (1) member shall represent programs which provideconfidential intermediary services and shall be appointed by and serve at thepleasure of the director of the department of family services;

 

(v) One (1) member shall be an adult adoptee, adoptive parentor biological parent appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director ofthe department of family services.

 

(b) The commission shall have the responsibility for:

 

(i) Drafting a manual of standards for training confidentialintermediaries;

 

(ii) Monitoring confidential intermediary training programs toensure compliance with the standards set forth in the manual with authority toapprove or deny such programs based upon compliance with such standards;

 

(iii) Maintaining an up-to-date list of persons who havecompleted training as confidential intermediaries and communicating that listto the judicial branch.

 

(c) The commission shall adopt rules for its own procedure. Thecommission shall select a chairman, a vice-chairman, and such other officers asit deems necessary, and shall keep a record of its proceedings. The commissionshall meet as often as necessary to carry out its duties, but in no instanceshall it meet less than semiannually. The commission may seek input fromconfidential intermediary organizations in carrying out its duties.

 

(d) The commission shall be voluntary and no state funds orpersonnel, except members of the commission appointed pursuant to subsection(a) of this section, shall be used in its operation. The commission may acceptgifts and grants and expend funds received to carry out its duties.

 

1-22-203. Confidential intermediaries; confidential intermediaryservices.

 

(a) Any person who has completed a confidential intermediary training program which meets the standards set forth by the commission shall beresponsible for notifying the commission that his name should be included onthe list of confidential intermediaries to be maintained by the commission andmade available to the judicial branch. The commission's rules shall specifywhen and under what conditions the name of a confidential intermediary shallbe removed from the list available to the judicial branch. Once a person isincluded on such list, he shall be:

 

(i) Authorized to inspect confidential relinquishment and adoption records, as ordered by the court, upon motion to the court by an adultadoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biologicalgrandparent;

 

(ii) Available, subject to time constraints, for appointment bythe court to act as a confidential intermediary for an adult adoptee, adoptiveparent, biological parent, biological sibling or biological grandparent.

 

(b) Any adult adoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biological grandparent who is eighteen (18) years of age or older may file a motion, with supporting affidavit, in the court where theadoption took place or in the court in which parental rights were terminated pursuantto W.S. 14-2-308 through 14-2-319, to appoint one (1) or more confidentialintermediaries for the purpose of determining the whereabouts of the unknownbiological relative or relatives, except that no one shall seek to determinethe whereabouts of a relative who is a minor. The court may rule on the motionand affidavit without hearing and may appoint a confidential intermediary. Costs related to the proceeding and investigation shall be the responsibilityof the party filing the motion for appointment and investigation.

 

(c) Any information obtained by the confidential intermediaryduring the course of his investigation shall be kept strictly confidential andshall be utilized only for the purpose of arranging a contact between theindividual who initiated the search and the sought-after biological relative.

 

(d) When a sought-after biological relative is located by aconfidential intermediary on behalf of the individual who initiated the search:

 

(i) Contact shall be made between the parties involved in theinvestigation only when written consent for such contact has been obtained fromboth parties and filed with the court;

 

(ii) If consent for personal communication is not obtained fromboth parties, all relinquishment and adoption records and any informationobtained by any confidential intermediary during the course of hisinvestigation shall be returned to the court and shall remain confidential.

 

(e) Any person acting as a confidential intermediary whoknowingly fails to comply with the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) ofthis section shall be subject to citation and punishment for contempt asprovided by Rule 42, Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure.

 

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title1 > Chapter22

CHAPTER 22 - ADOPTION

 

ARTICLE 1 - IN GENERAL

 

1-22-101. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this act:

 

(i) "Agency" means any person legally empowered toplace children for adoption or a certified private child welfare agency or thedepartment of family services;

 

(ii) "Child" means the minor person to be adopted;

 

(iii) "Parent" means the child's father or mother whoseparental rights have not been judicially terminated;

 

(iv) "Putative father" means the alleged or reputedfather of a child born out of wedlock, whether or not the paternity rights andobligations of the father have been judicially determined;

 

(v) "This act" means W.S. 1-22-101 through 1-22-114.

 

1-22-102. Persons subject to adoption.

 

(a) Any child may be adopted who is within this state when thepetition for adoption is filed.

 

(b) Any adult may be adopted, regardless of his residencewithin or outside of this state at the time the petition is filed, provided:

 

(i) The adopting parent was a stepparent, grandparent or otherblood relative, foster parent or legal guardian who participated in the raisingof the adult when the adult was a child; and

 

(ii) The adult files a consent to the adoption with the court.

 

1-22-103. Adopting parties.

 

Anyadult person who has resided in this state during the sixty (60) daysimmediately preceding the filing of the petition for adoption and who isdetermined by the court to be fit and competent to be a parent may adopt inaccordance with this act.

 

1-22-104. Petition for adoption of minor; by whom filed; requisites;confidential nature; inspection; separate journal to be kept.

 

(a) Adoption proceedings shall be commenced by a petition filedin district court. The district court may transfer jurisdiction of a petitionto adopt a child to the juvenile court if the child proposed for adoption inthe petition is under the prior and continuing jurisdiction of the juvenilecourt.

 

(b) A petition may be filed by any single adult or jointly by ahusband and wife who maintain their home together, or by either the husband orwife if the other spouse is a parent of the child.

 

(c) The following documents shall be filed with every petitionto adopt a child:

 

(i) The appropriate consent to adoption pursuant to W.S.1-22-109;

 

(ii) Any relinquishments as provided by W.S. 1-22-109 necessaryto show the court that the person or agency legally authorized to have custodyand control of the child prior to the adoption, has duly relinquished the childto the petitioners for adoption;

 

(iii) A report of the medical examination of the child made by alicensed Wyoming physician within thirty (30) days immediately preceding thefiling of the petition to adopt. The report shall be made on forms provided bythe department of family services. A medical report shall not be required whena parent of the child joins in the petition to adopt or when the child residedwith the adoptive parents for more than six (6) months prior to filing thepetition;

 

(iv) An affidavit from each petitioner setting forth:

 

(A) Any previous or current diagnosed psychiatric disorders ofthe petitioner;

 

(B) All felony convictions of the petitioner within thepreceding ten (10) years;

 

(C) All misdemeanor convictions of the petitioner within thepreceding five (5) years;

 

(D) The current parole or probation status of the petitioner,if any.

 

(v) An affidavit stating the name or names of persons awardedvisitation rights to the child under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102 or an affidavitstating that no visitation rights under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102 have beenawarded in regard to the child.

 

(d) The petition and documents filed pursuant to this section,and the interlocutory decree, if entered, and the final decree of adoptionshall constitute a confidential file and shall be available for inspection onlyto the judge, or, by order of court, to the parties to the proceedings or theirattorneys. Upon the entry of the final decree of adoption, all records in theproceedings shall be sealed and may be available for inspection only by orderof court for good cause shown. The clerk of court shall maintain a separatejournal for adoption proceedings to be confidential and available forinspection only by order of the court for good cause shown. The court may orderinspection of all or part of the confidential file in adoption proceedings onlyif it appears to the court that the welfare and best interests of the childwill be served by the inspection.

 

(e) The court may order inspection of all or any part of theconfidential file upon a proper motion made pursuant to W.S. 1-22-203(b). Anyorder permitting inspection under this subsection shall preserve the anonymityof the natural parents, the adoptive parents and the child and shall providethat the inspection is subject to the provisions of W.S. 1-22-203. Documentsfiled pursuant to W.S. 1-22-203(b) or this subsection shall become part of theconfidential file.

 

(f) For purposes of this section, "convicted"includes pleas of guilty, nolo contendere, verdicts of guilty upon which ajudgment of conviction may be rendered and dispositions pursuant to W.S.7-13-301 and 35-7-1037.

 

1-22-105. Hearings to be closed; attendance of parties.

 

(a) Unless the court orders a hearing in open court, allhearings in adoption proceedings shall be confidential and held in closed courtor court chambers. No person shall be admitted except court officials, partiesto the proceeding, counsel, nonconsenting parents, the nonconsenting putativefather of the child and witnesses.

 

(b) The petitioners and the child shall appear at the hearingunless excused by the court.

 

1-22-106. When petition to be filed; order for hearing.

 

Apetition to adopt a child shall be filed upon the entry of the child in theadoptive home or as soon thereafter as is reasonably convenient. When apetition is filed and presented to the judge, he shall set the petition forhearing. Any person whose consent to adoption is required by W.S. 1-22-109 andwhose consent has not been filed shall be ordered to appear on the day set andshow cause why the petition to adopt should not be granted and a decree ofadoption entered.

 

1-22-107. Service of petition and order; when service by publicationpermitted; exception.

 

(a) Prior to the hearing a copy of the petition to adopt achild and all orders to show cause shall be served on any persons whose consentto adoption is required by W.S. 1-22-109 and whose consent has not been filedwith the petition to adopt. Service shall be made in the same manner asprovided for by rule 4 of the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure and shall beaccomplished so that a default judgment could be rendered at the hearingagainst the person served. Service by publication is specifically allowed wherethe defendant resides out of state, or his residence cannot, with reasonablediligence, be ascertained.

 

(b) The petition and orders to show cause need not be servedupon parents or other persons whose rights to the child have been terminated ina prior judicial proceeding.

 

(c) Prior to the hearing a copy of the petition to adopt achild and an order to show cause shall be served on any persons awardedvisitation rights to the child under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102. The consent ofpersons awarded visitation rights to the adoption is not required. However, thecourt may exercise its discretion to allow those persons an opportunity to beheard if the court finds it to be in the best interest and welfare of thechild.

 

1-22-108. Hearing on petition and objections; findings by court;effect of default.

 

(a) When the persons required to be served as provided in W.S.1-22-107 have been served personally or by publication and do not appear at thehearing, a default shall be entered against them and they shall be bound by thefindings and judgment of the court.

 

(b) When any person whose consent is required objects to thepetition to adopt, he shall at least five (5) days before the hearing file hisobjections and serve them on all parties to the proceedings, including anyperson whose consent has been filed.

 

(c) If the putative father files and serves his objections tothe petition to adopt as provided in subsection (b) of this section, andappears at the hearing to acknowledge his paternity of the child, the courtshall hear the evidence in support of the petition to adopt and in support ofthe objection to the petition and shall then determine whether:

 

(i) The putative father's claim to paternity of the child isestablished;

 

(ii) The putative father having knowledge of the birth orpending birth of the child has evidenced an interest in and responsibility forthe child within thirty (30) days after receiving notice of the pending birthor birth of the child;

 

(iii) The putative father's objections to the petition to adoptare valid; and

 

(iv) The best interests and welfare of the child will be servedby granting the putative father's claim to paternity or by allowing thepetition to adopt.

 

(d) The putative father has no right to assert paternity inadoption, dependency or termination of parental rights proceedings unless he isknown and identified by the mother or agency, or unless he has lived with ormarried the mother after the birth of the child and prior to the filing of thepetition to adopt, and unless prior to the interlocutory hearing of theadoption proceedings, he has acknowledged the child as his own by affirmativelyasserting paternity as provided in this section or registered as a putativefather under W.S. 1-22-117.

 

(e) Based upon its determination and findings after a hearing,the court may enter its order or decree in accordance with W.S. 1-22-111.

 

1-22-109. Consent to adoption.

 

(a) A written relinquishment of custody of the child to beadopted and written consent to adoption shall be filed with the petition toadopt and shall be signed by:

 

(i) Both parents, if living; or

 

(ii) The surviving parent; or

 

(iii) The mother and putative father of the child if the name ofthe putative father is known; or

 

(iv) The mother alone if she does not know the name of theputative father, in which case she shall sign and file an affidavit so statingand the court shall determine whether the putative father has registered underW.S. 1-22-117 and if so, shall require notice to be given to the putativefather; or

 

(v) The legal guardian of the person of the child if neitherparent is living or if parental rights have been judicially terminated; or

 

(vi) The executive head of the agency to whom the child has beenrelinquished for adoption; or

 

(vii) The person having exclusive legal custody of the child bycourt order; or

 

(viii) The legally appointed guardian of any parent or putativefather who has been adjudged mentally incompetent.

 

(b) If the child to be adopted is over the age of fourteen (14)years his written consent to adoption shall also be filed with the petition toadopt.

 

(c) The consent to adoption shall be signed any time after thebirth of the child. The consent shall be acknowledged or may be approved in thefollowing manner:

 

(i) The consent shall be acknowledged by a:

 

(A) Person authorized to take acknowledgments;

 

(B) Representative of the department of family services; or

 

(C) Representative of a certified agency to whom the custody ofthe child is being relinquished for adoption.

 

(ii) If not acknowledged as provided in paragraph (i) of thissubsection, the consent to adoption may be approved by the court after:

 

(A) The person giving the consent has appeared before the courtin an informal hearing in court chambers; and

 

(B) The court finds that the consent is knowingly andvoluntarily given.

 

(d) Consent to adoption and the relinquishment of a child foradoption are irrevocable unless obtained by fraud or duress, except that if thecourt should deny the adoption on account of a claim or objection of theputative father of the child, the court may also allow the mother of the childto withdraw her consent and relinquishment. The consent or relinquishment by aparent who is a minor is valid and may not be revoked solely because ofminority.

 

(e) The consent to adoption and the relinquishment of custodyof a child for adoption may be contained in a single instrument.

 

1-22-110. When adoption permitted without consent.

 

(a) In addition to the exceptions contained in W.S. 1-22-108,the adoption of a child may be ordered without the written consent of a parentor the putative father if the court finds that the nonconsenting parent orputative father is unknown and that the putative father has not registeredunder W.S. 1-22-117 and the affidavit required by W.S. 1-22-109(a)(iv) has beenfiled with the petition to adopt or if the court finds that the putative fatheror the nonconsenting parent or parents have:

 

(i) Been given notice of the hearing as provided in W.S.1-22-107 and has failed to answer or appear at the hearing; or

 

(ii) Been judicially deprived of parental rights of the childfor any reason; or

 

(iii) Willfully abandoned or deserted the child; or

 

(iv) Willfully failed to contribute to the support of the childfor a period of one (1) year immediately prior to the filing of the petition toadopt and has failed to bring the support obligation current within sixty (60)days after service of the petition to adopt; or

 

(v) Willfully permitted the child to be maintained in or by apublic or private institution or by the department of family services for aperiod of one (1) year immediately prior to the filing of the petition withoutsubstantially contributing to the support of the child; or

 

(vi) Failed, within thirty (30) days after receiving notice ofthe pending birth or birth of the child, to advise or notify the agency whichgave the putative father the notice of pending birth or birth of his interestin or responsibility for the child or his declaration of paternity; or

 

(vii) Been adjudged by a court to be guilty of cruelty, abuse,neglect or mistreatment of the child; or

 

(viii) Caused the conception of the child born out of wedlock as aresult of sexual assault or incest for which he has been convicted; or

 

(ix) Willfully failed to pay a total dollar amount of at leastseventy percent (70%) of the court ordered support for a period of two (2)years or more and has failed to bring the support obligation one hundredpercent (100%) current within sixty (60) days after service of the petition toadopt.

 

(b) Any petition filed pursuant to paragraphs (a)(iv) or (ix)of this section shall contain a clear statement of the consequences of therespondent's failure to bring the support obligation current.

 

1-22-111. Decree; investigation; denial of adoption.

 

(a) After the petition to adopt has been filed and a hearingheld the court acting in the best interest and welfare of the child may makeany of the following orders:

 

(i) Enter an interlocutory decree of adoption giving the careand custody of the child to the petitioners pending further order of the court;

 

(ii) Defer entry of an interlocutory decree of adoption andorder the department of family services or a private licensed agency toinvestigate and report to the court the background of the child and of thepetitioners, and the medical, social and psychological background and status ofthe consenting parent and putative father. After a written report of theinvestigation is filed, the court shall determine if the adoption bypetitioners is in the best interest and welfare of the child and thereuponenter the appropriate order or decree;

 

(iii) Enter a final decree of adoption if the child has residedin the home of the petitioner for six (6) months; or

 

(iv) Deny the adoption if the court finds that the bestinterests and welfare of the child will be served by such denial.

 

(b) If the court denies the adoption it shall make an order forproper custody consistent with the best interest and welfare of the child.

 

1-22-112. Application for final decree.

 

(a) If an interlocutory decree has been entered petitioners mayapply for a final decree of adoption after the child has resided in the home ofthe petitioners for six (6) months and a hearing on the petition may berequired.

 

(b) If an interlocutory decree has not been entered a hearingon the petition for a final decree of adoption shall be set as provided in W.S.1-22-106, notice thereof shall be given as provided in W.S. 1-22-107 and afinal hearing shall be had on the petition.

 

1-22-113. Petition for adoption of an adult; consent required.

 

Whena petition to adopt an adult is filed a copy of the petition together with asummons issued as in other civil actions shall be served on the adult. If theadult objects to adoption by the petitioner the petition shall be dismissed.When the consent of the adult is given, the petition shall be granted and afinal decree of adoption made and entered. The decree may change the name ofthe adopted person.

 

1-22-114. Effect of adoption.

 

(a) Upon the entry of a final decree of adoption the former parent,guardian or putative father of the child shall have no right to the control orcustody of the child. The adopting persons shall have all of the rights andobligations respecting the child as if they were natural parents.

 

(b) Adopted persons may assume the surname of the adoptiveparent. They are entitled to the same rights of person and property as childrenand heirs at law of the persons who adopted them.

 

1-22-115. Subsidization of adoption; qualification for payments;authority to adopt rules and regulations.

 

(a) The department of family services may grant subsidypayments to the adoptive parent of a child or to another person on behalf ofthe child, if, at the time the child is placed for adoption:

 

(i) The child is in the legal custody of the department or aprivate child placement agency certified by the state and is legally availablefor adoption;

 

(ii) The department or a certified private child placementagency is financially responsible for the child;

 

(iii) Reasonable efforts to place the child for adoption prior toconsideration of a subsidy payment have been unsuccessful;

 

(iv) The child has special needs as determined by the division;and

 

(v) The department or a certified private child placementagency has determined the adoptive parent can provide for the nonfinancialneeds of the child.

 

(b) Subsidy payments under this section may provide for thecost of health, maintenance, medical and surgical treatment and costs incurredfor the adoption, care, training and education of the child.

 

(c) The determination of an adoptive parent's eligibility forsubsidy payments shall be made before the completion of the legal adoption ofthe child. All payments shall be reviewed not less than annually by thedepartment. Subsidy payments may continue, subject to rules and regulations ofthe department, for any adoptive parent terminating Wyoming residency with thechild in custody.

 

(d) The department of family services shall adopt a planpursuant to P.L. 96-272 and rules and regulations necessary for theadministration of this section.

 

(e) Subsidy payments made under this section shall:

 

(i) Not exceed the amount of payments for comparable assistanceunder foster care;

 

(ii) Be terminated or reduced if the need for payments has alteredor no longer exists as determined by the department or if the child has reachedthe age of majority; and

 

(iii) Be made from funds appropriated to the department forfoster care purposes.

 

(f) The department of family services may accept on behalf ofthe state any available federal funds for purposes consistent with thissection. The department shall administer the funds in conformance with thissection and the terms and conditions under which they are issued.

 

1-22-116. Medical history of natural parents and adoptive child.

 

Tothe extent available, the medical history of a child subject to adoption andhis natural parents, with information identifying the natural parentseliminated, shall be provided by an authorized agency or may be provided byorder of a court to the child's adoptive parent any time after the adoptiondecree or to the child after he attains the age of majority. The history shallinclude but not be limited to all available information regarding conditions ordiseases believed to be hereditary, any drugs or medication taken duringpregnancy by the child's natural mother and any other information which may bea factor influencing the child's present or future health. The department offamily services shall promulgate rules governing the release of medicalhistories under this section.

 

1-22-117. Putative father registry.

 

(a) The department of family services shall establish aputative father registry which shall record the names and addresses of:

 

(i) Any person adjudicated by a court of this state to be thefather of a child born out-of-wedlock;

 

(ii) Any person who has filed with the registry before or afterthe birth of a child out-of-wedlock, a notice of intent to claim paternity ofthe child;

 

(iii) Any person adjudicated by a court of another state orterritory of the United States to be the father of an out-of-wedlock child,where a certified copy of the court order has been filed with the registry bythat person or any other person; and

 

(iv) Any person who has filed with the registry an instrumentacknowledging paternity.

 

(b) A person filing a notice of intent to claim paternity of achild or an acknowledgement of paternity shall include therein his currentaddress and shall notify the registry of any change of address pursuant toprocedures prescribed by regulations of the department.

 

(c) A person who has filed a notice of intent to claimpaternity may at any time revoke a notice of intent to claim paternitypreviously filed therewith and, upon receipt of the notification by theregistry, the revoked notice of intent to claim paternity shall be deemed anullity nunc pro tunc.

 

(d) An unrevoked notice of intent to claim paternity of a childmay be introduced in evidence by any party, other than the person who filedsuch notice, in any proceeding in which such fact may be relevant.

 

(e) The department of family services shall, upon request,provide the names and addresses of persons listed with the registry to anycourt or authorized agency, and such information shall not be divulged to anyother person, except upon order of a court for good cause shown.

 

ARTICLE 2 - CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARIES

 

1-22-201. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this act:

 

(i) "Adoptee" means a person who, as a minor, wasadopted pursuant to a final decree of adoption entered by a court;

 

(ii) "Adoptive parent" means an adult who has become aparent of a minor through the legal process of adoption;

 

(iii) "Adult" means a person eighteen (18) years of ageor older;

 

(iv) "Biological grandparent" means a parent, by birthor adoption, of a biological parent;

 

(v) "Biological parent" means a parent, by birth, ofan adopted person;

 

(vi) "Biological sibling" means a sibling, by birth,of an adopted person;

 

(vii) "Chief justice" means the chief justice of theWyoming supreme court;

 

(viii) "Confidential intermediary" means a persontwenty-one (21) years of age or older who has completed a training program forconfidential intermediaries which meets the standards set forth by thecommission pursuant to W.S. 1-22-202(b) and who is authorized to inspectconfidential relinquishment and adoption records at the request of an adultadoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biologicalgrandparent;

 

(ix) "Consent" means voluntary, informed, writtenconsent. Consent always shall be preceded by an explanation that the consentpermits the confidential intermediary to arrange a personal contact amongbiological relatives;

 

(x) "Court" means any court of record withjurisdiction over the matter at issue;

 

(xi) "This act" means W.S. 1-22-201 through 1-22-203.

 

1-22-202. Commission created; powers; duties.

 

(a) There is hereby created within the department of familyservices, an adoption intermediary commission of five (5) members.Representation and appointment of the members shall be as follows:

 

(i) One (1) member shall represent the judicial branch andshall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the chief justice;

 

(ii) One (1) member shall represent the department of familyservices and shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director ofthe department;

 

(iii) One (1) member shall represent private adoption agenciesand shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director of thedepartment of family services;

 

(iv) One (1) member shall represent programs which provideconfidential intermediary services and shall be appointed by and serve at thepleasure of the director of the department of family services;

 

(v) One (1) member shall be an adult adoptee, adoptive parentor biological parent appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director ofthe department of family services.

 

(b) The commission shall have the responsibility for:

 

(i) Drafting a manual of standards for training confidentialintermediaries;

 

(ii) Monitoring confidential intermediary training programs toensure compliance with the standards set forth in the manual with authority toapprove or deny such programs based upon compliance with such standards;

 

(iii) Maintaining an up-to-date list of persons who havecompleted training as confidential intermediaries and communicating that listto the judicial branch.

 

(c) The commission shall adopt rules for its own procedure. Thecommission shall select a chairman, a vice-chairman, and such other officers asit deems necessary, and shall keep a record of its proceedings. The commissionshall meet as often as necessary to carry out its duties, but in no instanceshall it meet less than semiannually. The commission may seek input fromconfidential intermediary organizations in carrying out its duties.

 

(d) The commission shall be voluntary and no state funds orpersonnel, except members of the commission appointed pursuant to subsection(a) of this section, shall be used in its operation. The commission may acceptgifts and grants and expend funds received to carry out its duties.

 

1-22-203. Confidential intermediaries; confidential intermediaryservices.

 

(a) Any person who has completed a confidential intermediary training program which meets the standards set forth by the commission shall beresponsible for notifying the commission that his name should be included onthe list of confidential intermediaries to be maintained by the commission andmade available to the judicial branch. The commission's rules shall specifywhen and under what conditions the name of a confidential intermediary shallbe removed from the list available to the judicial branch. Once a person isincluded on such list, he shall be:

 

(i) Authorized to inspect confidential relinquishment and adoption records, as ordered by the court, upon motion to the court by an adultadoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biologicalgrandparent;

 

(ii) Available, subject to time constraints, for appointment bythe court to act as a confidential intermediary for an adult adoptee, adoptiveparent, biological parent, biological sibling or biological grandparent.

 

(b) Any adult adoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biological grandparent who is eighteen (18) years of age or older may file a motion, with supporting affidavit, in the court where theadoption took place or in the court in which parental rights were terminated pursuantto W.S. 14-2-308 through 14-2-319, to appoint one (1) or more confidentialintermediaries for the purpose of determining the whereabouts of the unknownbiological relative or relatives, except that no one shall seek to determinethe whereabouts of a relative who is a minor. The court may rule on the motionand affidavit without hearing and may appoint a confidential intermediary. Costs related to the proceeding and investigation shall be the responsibilityof the party filing the motion for appointment and investigation.

 

(c) Any information obtained by the confidential intermediaryduring the course of his investigation shall be kept strictly confidential andshall be utilized only for the purpose of arranging a contact between theindividual who initiated the search and the sought-after biological relative.

 

(d) When a sought-after biological relative is located by aconfidential intermediary on behalf of the individual who initiated the search:

 

(i) Contact shall be made between the parties involved in theinvestigation only when written consent for such contact has been obtained fromboth parties and filed with the court;

 

(ii) If consent for personal communication is not obtained fromboth parties, all relinquishment and adoption records and any informationobtained by any confidential intermediary during the course of hisinvestigation shall be returned to the court and shall remain confidential.

 

(e) Any person acting as a confidential intermediary whoknowingly fails to comply with the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) ofthis section shall be subject to citation and punishment for contempt asprovided by Rule 42, Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure.

 


State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wyoming > Title1 > Chapter22

CHAPTER 22 - ADOPTION

 

ARTICLE 1 - IN GENERAL

 

1-22-101. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this act:

 

(i) "Agency" means any person legally empowered toplace children for adoption or a certified private child welfare agency or thedepartment of family services;

 

(ii) "Child" means the minor person to be adopted;

 

(iii) "Parent" means the child's father or mother whoseparental rights have not been judicially terminated;

 

(iv) "Putative father" means the alleged or reputedfather of a child born out of wedlock, whether or not the paternity rights andobligations of the father have been judicially determined;

 

(v) "This act" means W.S. 1-22-101 through 1-22-114.

 

1-22-102. Persons subject to adoption.

 

(a) Any child may be adopted who is within this state when thepetition for adoption is filed.

 

(b) Any adult may be adopted, regardless of his residencewithin or outside of this state at the time the petition is filed, provided:

 

(i) The adopting parent was a stepparent, grandparent or otherblood relative, foster parent or legal guardian who participated in the raisingof the adult when the adult was a child; and

 

(ii) The adult files a consent to the adoption with the court.

 

1-22-103. Adopting parties.

 

Anyadult person who has resided in this state during the sixty (60) daysimmediately preceding the filing of the petition for adoption and who isdetermined by the court to be fit and competent to be a parent may adopt inaccordance with this act.

 

1-22-104. Petition for adoption of minor; by whom filed; requisites;confidential nature; inspection; separate journal to be kept.

 

(a) Adoption proceedings shall be commenced by a petition filedin district court. The district court may transfer jurisdiction of a petitionto adopt a child to the juvenile court if the child proposed for adoption inthe petition is under the prior and continuing jurisdiction of the juvenilecourt.

 

(b) A petition may be filed by any single adult or jointly by ahusband and wife who maintain their home together, or by either the husband orwife if the other spouse is a parent of the child.

 

(c) The following documents shall be filed with every petitionto adopt a child:

 

(i) The appropriate consent to adoption pursuant to W.S.1-22-109;

 

(ii) Any relinquishments as provided by W.S. 1-22-109 necessaryto show the court that the person or agency legally authorized to have custodyand control of the child prior to the adoption, has duly relinquished the childto the petitioners for adoption;

 

(iii) A report of the medical examination of the child made by alicensed Wyoming physician within thirty (30) days immediately preceding thefiling of the petition to adopt. The report shall be made on forms provided bythe department of family services. A medical report shall not be required whena parent of the child joins in the petition to adopt or when the child residedwith the adoptive parents for more than six (6) months prior to filing thepetition;

 

(iv) An affidavit from each petitioner setting forth:

 

(A) Any previous or current diagnosed psychiatric disorders ofthe petitioner;

 

(B) All felony convictions of the petitioner within thepreceding ten (10) years;

 

(C) All misdemeanor convictions of the petitioner within thepreceding five (5) years;

 

(D) The current parole or probation status of the petitioner,if any.

 

(v) An affidavit stating the name or names of persons awardedvisitation rights to the child under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102 or an affidavitstating that no visitation rights under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102 have beenawarded in regard to the child.

 

(d) The petition and documents filed pursuant to this section,and the interlocutory decree, if entered, and the final decree of adoptionshall constitute a confidential file and shall be available for inspection onlyto the judge, or, by order of court, to the parties to the proceedings or theirattorneys. Upon the entry of the final decree of adoption, all records in theproceedings shall be sealed and may be available for inspection only by orderof court for good cause shown. The clerk of court shall maintain a separatejournal for adoption proceedings to be confidential and available forinspection only by order of the court for good cause shown. The court may orderinspection of all or part of the confidential file in adoption proceedings onlyif it appears to the court that the welfare and best interests of the childwill be served by the inspection.

 

(e) The court may order inspection of all or any part of theconfidential file upon a proper motion made pursuant to W.S. 1-22-203(b). Anyorder permitting inspection under this subsection shall preserve the anonymityof the natural parents, the adoptive parents and the child and shall providethat the inspection is subject to the provisions of W.S. 1-22-203. Documentsfiled pursuant to W.S. 1-22-203(b) or this subsection shall become part of theconfidential file.

 

(f) For purposes of this section, "convicted"includes pleas of guilty, nolo contendere, verdicts of guilty upon which ajudgment of conviction may be rendered and dispositions pursuant to W.S.7-13-301 and 35-7-1037.

 

1-22-105. Hearings to be closed; attendance of parties.

 

(a) Unless the court orders a hearing in open court, allhearings in adoption proceedings shall be confidential and held in closed courtor court chambers. No person shall be admitted except court officials, partiesto the proceeding, counsel, nonconsenting parents, the nonconsenting putativefather of the child and witnesses.

 

(b) The petitioners and the child shall appear at the hearingunless excused by the court.

 

1-22-106. When petition to be filed; order for hearing.

 

Apetition to adopt a child shall be filed upon the entry of the child in theadoptive home or as soon thereafter as is reasonably convenient. When apetition is filed and presented to the judge, he shall set the petition forhearing. Any person whose consent to adoption is required by W.S. 1-22-109 andwhose consent has not been filed shall be ordered to appear on the day set andshow cause why the petition to adopt should not be granted and a decree ofadoption entered.

 

1-22-107. Service of petition and order; when service by publicationpermitted; exception.

 

(a) Prior to the hearing a copy of the petition to adopt achild and all orders to show cause shall be served on any persons whose consentto adoption is required by W.S. 1-22-109 and whose consent has not been filedwith the petition to adopt. Service shall be made in the same manner asprovided for by rule 4 of the Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure and shall beaccomplished so that a default judgment could be rendered at the hearingagainst the person served. Service by publication is specifically allowed wherethe defendant resides out of state, or his residence cannot, with reasonablediligence, be ascertained.

 

(b) The petition and orders to show cause need not be servedupon parents or other persons whose rights to the child have been terminated ina prior judicial proceeding.

 

(c) Prior to the hearing a copy of the petition to adopt achild and an order to show cause shall be served on any persons awardedvisitation rights to the child under W.S. 20-7-101 or 20-7-102. The consent ofpersons awarded visitation rights to the adoption is not required. However, thecourt may exercise its discretion to allow those persons an opportunity to beheard if the court finds it to be in the best interest and welfare of thechild.

 

1-22-108. Hearing on petition and objections; findings by court;effect of default.

 

(a) When the persons required to be served as provided in W.S.1-22-107 have been served personally or by publication and do not appear at thehearing, a default shall be entered against them and they shall be bound by thefindings and judgment of the court.

 

(b) When any person whose consent is required objects to thepetition to adopt, he shall at least five (5) days before the hearing file hisobjections and serve them on all parties to the proceedings, including anyperson whose consent has been filed.

 

(c) If the putative father files and serves his objections tothe petition to adopt as provided in subsection (b) of this section, andappears at the hearing to acknowledge his paternity of the child, the courtshall hear the evidence in support of the petition to adopt and in support ofthe objection to the petition and shall then determine whether:

 

(i) The putative father's claim to paternity of the child isestablished;

 

(ii) The putative father having knowledge of the birth orpending birth of the child has evidenced an interest in and responsibility forthe child within thirty (30) days after receiving notice of the pending birthor birth of the child;

 

(iii) The putative father's objections to the petition to adoptare valid; and

 

(iv) The best interests and welfare of the child will be servedby granting the putative father's claim to paternity or by allowing thepetition to adopt.

 

(d) The putative father has no right to assert paternity inadoption, dependency or termination of parental rights proceedings unless he isknown and identified by the mother or agency, or unless he has lived with ormarried the mother after the birth of the child and prior to the filing of thepetition to adopt, and unless prior to the interlocutory hearing of theadoption proceedings, he has acknowledged the child as his own by affirmativelyasserting paternity as provided in this section or registered as a putativefather under W.S. 1-22-117.

 

(e) Based upon its determination and findings after a hearing,the court may enter its order or decree in accordance with W.S. 1-22-111.

 

1-22-109. Consent to adoption.

 

(a) A written relinquishment of custody of the child to beadopted and written consent to adoption shall be filed with the petition toadopt and shall be signed by:

 

(i) Both parents, if living; or

 

(ii) The surviving parent; or

 

(iii) The mother and putative father of the child if the name ofthe putative father is known; or

 

(iv) The mother alone if she does not know the name of theputative father, in which case she shall sign and file an affidavit so statingand the court shall determine whether the putative father has registered underW.S. 1-22-117 and if so, shall require notice to be given to the putativefather; or

 

(v) The legal guardian of the person of the child if neitherparent is living or if parental rights have been judicially terminated; or

 

(vi) The executive head of the agency to whom the child has beenrelinquished for adoption; or

 

(vii) The person having exclusive legal custody of the child bycourt order; or

 

(viii) The legally appointed guardian of any parent or putativefather who has been adjudged mentally incompetent.

 

(b) If the child to be adopted is over the age of fourteen (14)years his written consent to adoption shall also be filed with the petition toadopt.

 

(c) The consent to adoption shall be signed any time after thebirth of the child. The consent shall be acknowledged or may be approved in thefollowing manner:

 

(i) The consent shall be acknowledged by a:

 

(A) Person authorized to take acknowledgments;

 

(B) Representative of the department of family services; or

 

(C) Representative of a certified agency to whom the custody ofthe child is being relinquished for adoption.

 

(ii) If not acknowledged as provided in paragraph (i) of thissubsection, the consent to adoption may be approved by the court after:

 

(A) The person giving the consent has appeared before the courtin an informal hearing in court chambers; and

 

(B) The court finds that the consent is knowingly andvoluntarily given.

 

(d) Consent to adoption and the relinquishment of a child foradoption are irrevocable unless obtained by fraud or duress, except that if thecourt should deny the adoption on account of a claim or objection of theputative father of the child, the court may also allow the mother of the childto withdraw her consent and relinquishment. The consent or relinquishment by aparent who is a minor is valid and may not be revoked solely because ofminority.

 

(e) The consent to adoption and the relinquishment of custodyof a child for adoption may be contained in a single instrument.

 

1-22-110. When adoption permitted without consent.

 

(a) In addition to the exceptions contained in W.S. 1-22-108,the adoption of a child may be ordered without the written consent of a parentor the putative father if the court finds that the nonconsenting parent orputative father is unknown and that the putative father has not registeredunder W.S. 1-22-117 and the affidavit required by W.S. 1-22-109(a)(iv) has beenfiled with the petition to adopt or if the court finds that the putative fatheror the nonconsenting parent or parents have:

 

(i) Been given notice of the hearing as provided in W.S.1-22-107 and has failed to answer or appear at the hearing; or

 

(ii) Been judicially deprived of parental rights of the childfor any reason; or

 

(iii) Willfully abandoned or deserted the child; or

 

(iv) Willfully failed to contribute to the support of the childfor a period of one (1) year immediately prior to the filing of the petition toadopt and has failed to bring the support obligation current within sixty (60)days after service of the petition to adopt; or

 

(v) Willfully permitted the child to be maintained in or by apublic or private institution or by the department of family services for aperiod of one (1) year immediately prior to the filing of the petition withoutsubstantially contributing to the support of the child; or

 

(vi) Failed, within thirty (30) days after receiving notice ofthe pending birth or birth of the child, to advise or notify the agency whichgave the putative father the notice of pending birth or birth of his interestin or responsibility for the child or his declaration of paternity; or

 

(vii) Been adjudged by a court to be guilty of cruelty, abuse,neglect or mistreatment of the child; or

 

(viii) Caused the conception of the child born out of wedlock as aresult of sexual assault or incest for which he has been convicted; or

 

(ix) Willfully failed to pay a total dollar amount of at leastseventy percent (70%) of the court ordered support for a period of two (2)years or more and has failed to bring the support obligation one hundredpercent (100%) current within sixty (60) days after service of the petition toadopt.

 

(b) Any petition filed pursuant to paragraphs (a)(iv) or (ix)of this section shall contain a clear statement of the consequences of therespondent's failure to bring the support obligation current.

 

1-22-111. Decree; investigation; denial of adoption.

 

(a) After the petition to adopt has been filed and a hearingheld the court acting in the best interest and welfare of the child may makeany of the following orders:

 

(i) Enter an interlocutory decree of adoption giving the careand custody of the child to the petitioners pending further order of the court;

 

(ii) Defer entry of an interlocutory decree of adoption andorder the department of family services or a private licensed agency toinvestigate and report to the court the background of the child and of thepetitioners, and the medical, social and psychological background and status ofthe consenting parent and putative father. After a written report of theinvestigation is filed, the court shall determine if the adoption bypetitioners is in the best interest and welfare of the child and thereuponenter the appropriate order or decree;

 

(iii) Enter a final decree of adoption if the child has residedin the home of the petitioner for six (6) months; or

 

(iv) Deny the adoption if the court finds that the bestinterests and welfare of the child will be served by such denial.

 

(b) If the court denies the adoption it shall make an order forproper custody consistent with the best interest and welfare of the child.

 

1-22-112. Application for final decree.

 

(a) If an interlocutory decree has been entered petitioners mayapply for a final decree of adoption after the child has resided in the home ofthe petitioners for six (6) months and a hearing on the petition may berequired.

 

(b) If an interlocutory decree has not been entered a hearingon the petition for a final decree of adoption shall be set as provided in W.S.1-22-106, notice thereof shall be given as provided in W.S. 1-22-107 and afinal hearing shall be had on the petition.

 

1-22-113. Petition for adoption of an adult; consent required.

 

Whena petition to adopt an adult is filed a copy of the petition together with asummons issued as in other civil actions shall be served on the adult. If theadult objects to adoption by the petitioner the petition shall be dismissed.When the consent of the adult is given, the petition shall be granted and afinal decree of adoption made and entered. The decree may change the name ofthe adopted person.

 

1-22-114. Effect of adoption.

 

(a) Upon the entry of a final decree of adoption the former parent,guardian or putative father of the child shall have no right to the control orcustody of the child. The adopting persons shall have all of the rights andobligations respecting the child as if they were natural parents.

 

(b) Adopted persons may assume the surname of the adoptiveparent. They are entitled to the same rights of person and property as childrenand heirs at law of the persons who adopted them.

 

1-22-115. Subsidization of adoption; qualification for payments;authority to adopt rules and regulations.

 

(a) The department of family services may grant subsidypayments to the adoptive parent of a child or to another person on behalf ofthe child, if, at the time the child is placed for adoption:

 

(i) The child is in the legal custody of the department or aprivate child placement agency certified by the state and is legally availablefor adoption;

 

(ii) The department or a certified private child placementagency is financially responsible for the child;

 

(iii) Reasonable efforts to place the child for adoption prior toconsideration of a subsidy payment have been unsuccessful;

 

(iv) The child has special needs as determined by the division;and

 

(v) The department or a certified private child placementagency has determined the adoptive parent can provide for the nonfinancialneeds of the child.

 

(b) Subsidy payments under this section may provide for thecost of health, maintenance, medical and surgical treatment and costs incurredfor the adoption, care, training and education of the child.

 

(c) The determination of an adoptive parent's eligibility forsubsidy payments shall be made before the completion of the legal adoption ofthe child. All payments shall be reviewed not less than annually by thedepartment. Subsidy payments may continue, subject to rules and regulations ofthe department, for any adoptive parent terminating Wyoming residency with thechild in custody.

 

(d) The department of family services shall adopt a planpursuant to P.L. 96-272 and rules and regulations necessary for theadministration of this section.

 

(e) Subsidy payments made under this section shall:

 

(i) Not exceed the amount of payments for comparable assistanceunder foster care;

 

(ii) Be terminated or reduced if the need for payments has alteredor no longer exists as determined by the department or if the child has reachedthe age of majority; and

 

(iii) Be made from funds appropriated to the department forfoster care purposes.

 

(f) The department of family services may accept on behalf ofthe state any available federal funds for purposes consistent with thissection. The department shall administer the funds in conformance with thissection and the terms and conditions under which they are issued.

 

1-22-116. Medical history of natural parents and adoptive child.

 

Tothe extent available, the medical history of a child subject to adoption andhis natural parents, with information identifying the natural parentseliminated, shall be provided by an authorized agency or may be provided byorder of a court to the child's adoptive parent any time after the adoptiondecree or to the child after he attains the age of majority. The history shallinclude but not be limited to all available information regarding conditions ordiseases believed to be hereditary, any drugs or medication taken duringpregnancy by the child's natural mother and any other information which may bea factor influencing the child's present or future health. The department offamily services shall promulgate rules governing the release of medicalhistories under this section.

 

1-22-117. Putative father registry.

 

(a) The department of family services shall establish aputative father registry which shall record the names and addresses of:

 

(i) Any person adjudicated by a court of this state to be thefather of a child born out-of-wedlock;

 

(ii) Any person who has filed with the registry before or afterthe birth of a child out-of-wedlock, a notice of intent to claim paternity ofthe child;

 

(iii) Any person adjudicated by a court of another state orterritory of the United States to be the father of an out-of-wedlock child,where a certified copy of the court order has been filed with the registry bythat person or any other person; and

 

(iv) Any person who has filed with the registry an instrumentacknowledging paternity.

 

(b) A person filing a notice of intent to claim paternity of achild or an acknowledgement of paternity shall include therein his currentaddress and shall notify the registry of any change of address pursuant toprocedures prescribed by regulations of the department.

 

(c) A person who has filed a notice of intent to claimpaternity may at any time revoke a notice of intent to claim paternitypreviously filed therewith and, upon receipt of the notification by theregistry, the revoked notice of intent to claim paternity shall be deemed anullity nunc pro tunc.

 

(d) An unrevoked notice of intent to claim paternity of a childmay be introduced in evidence by any party, other than the person who filedsuch notice, in any proceeding in which such fact may be relevant.

 

(e) The department of family services shall, upon request,provide the names and addresses of persons listed with the registry to anycourt or authorized agency, and such information shall not be divulged to anyother person, except upon order of a court for good cause shown.

 

ARTICLE 2 - CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARIES

 

1-22-201. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this act:

 

(i) "Adoptee" means a person who, as a minor, wasadopted pursuant to a final decree of adoption entered by a court;

 

(ii) "Adoptive parent" means an adult who has become aparent of a minor through the legal process of adoption;

 

(iii) "Adult" means a person eighteen (18) years of ageor older;

 

(iv) "Biological grandparent" means a parent, by birthor adoption, of a biological parent;

 

(v) "Biological parent" means a parent, by birth, ofan adopted person;

 

(vi) "Biological sibling" means a sibling, by birth,of an adopted person;

 

(vii) "Chief justice" means the chief justice of theWyoming supreme court;

 

(viii) "Confidential intermediary" means a persontwenty-one (21) years of age or older who has completed a training program forconfidential intermediaries which meets the standards set forth by thecommission pursuant to W.S. 1-22-202(b) and who is authorized to inspectconfidential relinquishment and adoption records at the request of an adultadoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biologicalgrandparent;

 

(ix) "Consent" means voluntary, informed, writtenconsent. Consent always shall be preceded by an explanation that the consentpermits the confidential intermediary to arrange a personal contact amongbiological relatives;

 

(x) "Court" means any court of record withjurisdiction over the matter at issue;

 

(xi) "This act" means W.S. 1-22-201 through 1-22-203.

 

1-22-202. Commission created; powers; duties.

 

(a) There is hereby created within the department of familyservices, an adoption intermediary commission of five (5) members.Representation and appointment of the members shall be as follows:

 

(i) One (1) member shall represent the judicial branch andshall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the chief justice;

 

(ii) One (1) member shall represent the department of familyservices and shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director ofthe department;

 

(iii) One (1) member shall represent private adoption agenciesand shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director of thedepartment of family services;

 

(iv) One (1) member shall represent programs which provideconfidential intermediary services and shall be appointed by and serve at thepleasure of the director of the department of family services;

 

(v) One (1) member shall be an adult adoptee, adoptive parentor biological parent appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director ofthe department of family services.

 

(b) The commission shall have the responsibility for:

 

(i) Drafting a manual of standards for training confidentialintermediaries;

 

(ii) Monitoring confidential intermediary training programs toensure compliance with the standards set forth in the manual with authority toapprove or deny such programs based upon compliance with such standards;

 

(iii) Maintaining an up-to-date list of persons who havecompleted training as confidential intermediaries and communicating that listto the judicial branch.

 

(c) The commission shall adopt rules for its own procedure. Thecommission shall select a chairman, a vice-chairman, and such other officers asit deems necessary, and shall keep a record of its proceedings. The commissionshall meet as often as necessary to carry out its duties, but in no instanceshall it meet less than semiannually. The commission may seek input fromconfidential intermediary organizations in carrying out its duties.

 

(d) The commission shall be voluntary and no state funds orpersonnel, except members of the commission appointed pursuant to subsection(a) of this section, shall be used in its operation. The commission may acceptgifts and grants and expend funds received to carry out its duties.

 

1-22-203. Confidential intermediaries; confidential intermediaryservices.

 

(a) Any person who has completed a confidential intermediary training program which meets the standards set forth by the commission shall beresponsible for notifying the commission that his name should be included onthe list of confidential intermediaries to be maintained by the commission andmade available to the judicial branch. The commission's rules shall specifywhen and under what conditions the name of a confidential intermediary shallbe removed from the list available to the judicial branch. Once a person isincluded on such list, he shall be:

 

(i) Authorized to inspect confidential relinquishment and adoption records, as ordered by the court, upon motion to the court by an adultadoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biologicalgrandparent;

 

(ii) Available, subject to time constraints, for appointment bythe court to act as a confidential intermediary for an adult adoptee, adoptiveparent, biological parent, biological sibling or biological grandparent.

 

(b) Any adult adoptee, adoptive parent, biological parent, biological sibling or biological grandparent who is eighteen (18) years of age or older may file a motion, with supporting affidavit, in the court where theadoption took place or in the court in which parental rights were terminated pursuantto W.S. 14-2-308 through 14-2-319, to appoint one (1) or more confidentialintermediaries for the purpose of determining the whereabouts of the unknownbiological relative or relatives, except that no one shall seek to determinethe whereabouts of a relative who is a minor. The court may rule on the motionand affidavit without hearing and may appoint a confidential intermediary. Costs related to the proceeding and investigation shall be the responsibilityof the party filing the motion for appointment and investigation.

 

(c) Any information obtained by the confidential intermediaryduring the course of his investigation shall be kept strictly confidential andshall be utilized only for the purpose of arranging a contact between theindividual who initiated the search and the sought-after biological relative.

 

(d) When a sought-after biological relative is located by aconfidential intermediary on behalf of the individual who initiated the search:

 

(i) Contact shall be made between the parties involved in theinvestigation only when written consent for such contact has been obtained fromboth parties and filed with the court;

 

(ii) If consent for personal communication is not obtained fromboth parties, all relinquishment and adoption records and any informationobtained by any confidential intermediary during the course of hisinvestigation shall be returned to the court and shall remain confidential.

 

(e) Any person acting as a confidential intermediary whoknowingly fails to comply with the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) ofthis section shall be subject to citation and punishment for contempt asprovided by Rule 42, Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure.

 

Categories