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Resources for State Adoption Statutes

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Persons contemplating adoption must comply with adoption laws. For the most part, adoption issues are subject to State laws and regulations.1 State adoption laws are primarily comprised of laws from two sources, State statutes and State case law. State statutes are provisions enacted by State legislatures that regulate the subject matter of an issue. State case law consists of rules of law that come from the written decisions of judges who hear and decide litigation. Statutes and case law of a particular jurisdiction are binding on future litigation within that jurisdiction. Additionally, administrative regulations, which are enacted by agencies that have the authority, within certain limits, to make rules that have the force of statutes, also address legal issues in adoption.

Legal research and analysis is often performed in order to understand and comply with adoption laws. This process begins with the reading and examination of relevant State statutes. To assist in this task, the Clearinghouse is providing information2 on how to obtain full-text copies of pertinent State adoption statutes,3 including:

  • Citations for adoption statutes in each State;
  • An Internet address (when available) to access a specific State statute online;
  • Contact information to order print copies of State statutes; and/or
  • Notification of any fee charged for print copies.

In addition to State statutory review, legal research and analysis of an adoption issue also involves reviewing case law4 to determine whether any cases have interpreted a particular statute, agency regulations,5 and informal practices and procedures. Readers interested in the interpretation of specific statutory provisions within a particular jurisdiction should also consult with professionals within the State familiar with statutory implementation.

1 There is some Federal statutory and constitutional law pertaining to adoptions, in such areas as adoption subsidies, adoption of Native American children, and the rights of unwed or putative fathers.

2 While every effort has been made to ensure that this resource listing is as accurate and timely as possible, the Clearinghouse cannot be held responsible for the content or services offered herein.

3 While every attempt has been made to be as complete as possible, additional information on a topic may be in other sections of a State's code.

4 Case law can be obtained from electronic legal databases and law libraries.

5 Agency regulations can be obtained from agency policy manuals.

AdoptionStatutes
(by State)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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