Hearing — decree — contact or exchange of identifying information between adopted person and birth or adoptive parent not to be denied, when — contact preference form. — 1. The court shall conduct a hearing to determine whether the adoption shall be finalized. During such hearing, the court shall ascertain whether:
(1) The person sought to be adopted, if a child, has been in the lawful and actual custody of the petitioner for a period of at least six months prior to entry of the adoption decree; except that the six-month period may be waived if the person sought to be adopted is a child who is under the prior and continuing jurisdiction of a court pursuant to chapter 211 and the person desiring to adopt the child is the child’s current foster parent. Lawful and actual custody shall include a transfer of custody pursuant to the laws of this state, another state, a territory of the United States, or another country;
(2) The court has received and reviewed a postplacement assessment on the monthly contacts with the adoptive family pursuant to section 453.077, except for good cause shown in the case of a child adopted from a foreign country;
(3) The court has received and reviewed an updated financial affidavit;
(4) The court has received the recommendations of the guardian ad litem and has received and reviewed the recommendations of the person placing the child, the person making the assessment and the person making the postplacement assessment;
(5) There is compliance with the uniform child custody jurisdiction act, sections 452.440 to 452.550*;
(6) There is compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, if applicable;
(7) There is compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children pursuant to section 210.620; and
(8) It is fit and proper that such adoption should be made.
2. If a petition for adoption has been filed pursuant to section 453.010 and a transfer of custody has occurred pursuant to section 453.110, the court may authorize the filing for finalization in another state if the adoptive parents are domiciled in that state.
3. If the court determines the adoption should be finalized, a decree shall be issued setting forth the facts and ordering that from the date of the decree the adoptee shall be for all legal intents and purposes the child of the petitioner or petitioners. The court may decree that the name of the person sought to be adopted be changed, according to the prayer of the petition.
4. Before the completion of an adoption, the exchange of information among the parties shall be at the discretion of the parties. Upon completion of an adoption, further contact among the parties shall be at the discretion of the adoptive parents. The court shall not have jurisdiction to deny continuing contact between the adopted person and the birth parent, or an adoptive parent and a birth parent. Additionally, the court shall not have jurisdiction to deny an exchange of identifying information between an adoptive parent and a birth parent.
5. Before the completion of an adoption, the court shall make available to the birth parent or parents a contact preference form developed by the state registrar pursuant to section 193.128 and provided to the court by the department of health and senior services. If a birth parent chooses to complete the form, the clerk of the court shall send the form with the certificate of decree of adoption to the state registrar. Such form shall accompany the original birth certificate of the adopted person and may be updated by a birth parent at any time upon the request of the birth parent.
(RSMo 1939 § 9613, A.L. 1947 V. II p. 213, A.L. 1985 H.B. 366, et al., A.L. 1997 H.B. 343, A.L. 1998 H.B. 1918 merged with S.B. 674, A.L. 2001 S.B. 348, A.L. 2016 H.B. 1599)
Prior revisions: 1929 § 14078; 1919 § 1100
*Sections 452.440 to 452.550 were repealed by H.B. 481, 2009.
(1952) Divorced wife, having been awarded custody of child, consented and adoption was awarded. On habeas corpus several years later custody was taken from adoptive parent and granted father. Court held adoptive parent did not have either lawful or actual custody for nine months after habeas corpus decree so that petition for adoption would not lie. In re Adams (A.), 248 S.W.2d 63.
(1953) Validity of judgment of adoption is determined solely by this section. Judgment held sufficient. Hyman v. Stanley (A.), 257 S.W.2d 388.
(1956) Where children were adjudicated neglected and placed in custody of juvenile officer and he placed them in homes of petitioners for their adoption without court order where they remained for more than nine months, adoption was properly decreed. In re Hyman’s Adoption (A.), 297 S.W.2d 1.
(1959) A prior order of court is not a prerequisite to lawful custody of a child placed in a home for parental care if the right to supervise its care and resume its custody is retained by its legal custodian. State ex rel. Dorsey v. Kelly (Mo.), 327 S.W.2d 160.
(1962) In adoption proceedings where petitioning stepfather had married the natural mother who had custody of child under Texas divorce decree, and for more than nine months thereafter shared custody of the child in the home, stepfather’s custody was sufficient under this section. In re Adoption of P.J.K. (A.), 359 S.W.2d 360.