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Alabama Adoption

Adoptions fall into two basic categories: related and unrelated. These terms are fairly self-explanatory. A related adoption is when the adult who is adopting the child is related to the child in a familial manner as defined by Alabama law. An unrelated adoption is one by an adult that is not part of the child’s family under the law in Alabama.

Related adoptions

In Alabama, related adoptions can be made by a grandmother,grandfather, great-grandmother, great-grandfather, great-uncle orgreat-aunt. Related adoptions can also be made by a brother, half-brother, sister, half-sister, or an aunt or uncle of the first degree, and their respective spouses. The person adopted must be a minor. The adoptee may be a grandchild or great-grandchild, sister or half-sister, brother or half-brother, nephew or great-nephew, niece or great-niece. When a step-parent adopts their spouse’s child, it is also considered a related adoption.

A related adoption is the simplest to handle and has the least requirements to fulfill. In the case of a related adoption, the child must have lived with the petitioner for one year before the petition is filed. The Alabama court can waive this filing provision. No pre-placement investigation or report of charges and fees paid is required unless the court rules otherwise.

Unrelated adoptions

In Alabama, an unrelated adoption is when the petitioner does not have a family relationship with the minor child in one of the manners described above. An unrelated adoption is somewhat more complicated to handle and has extra legal requirements such as the performance of a pre-placement investigation. Alabama law also requires the written disclosure of any fees and charges paid related to adopting.

Consent to adoption

In both related and unrelated adoption, the parental rights of the relinquishing parents must be terminated or consent must be given. An Alabama family court judge may terminate parental rights under proper circumstances. In the absence of termination, the child’s mother, presumed father and the minor child (if 14 or older) must consent to the adoption. A party can give express consent in the form of signed legal documents. In Alabama, a parent can also give implied consent by the parent’s actions. For example, abandonment by a parent is considered implied consent.


Under Alabama law, abandonment is a parent’s intentional, voluntary relinquishment of the custody of a minor child. It is also considered abandonment if a parent does not have a good cause or excuse and withholds certain needs of the child. A parent may abandon a child by withholding their presence, love, care, maintenance, protection or the opportunity to receive family affection. Under Alabama law, a parent also commits abandonment if he or she fails to claim their parental rights or fails to fulfill their parental duties.

Contact The Burleson Firm

The Burleson Firm has helped families in Alabama with family law cases for over 20 years. If you are wanting to adopt and you would like to obtain legal advice on the process, we can help. We handle both related and unrelated adoptions. Let The Burleson Firm schedule a no-obligation conference with a serious Alabama family law attorney to answer your questions about adoption.

For a free phone consultation, call us at 1 (205) 795-2033.



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(888) 852-3952

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