Replacement of a parent's consent to adoption
If a child is to be adopted, both parents and the child must consent to adoption. In certain exceptional cases, a parent's consent may be replaced by the Family Court. Replacement of a parent's consent is possible if he is indifferent to his or her child, or grossly violated his obligations towards his child for an extended period of time. In the above cases, consent can only be replaced if the child concerned would be subject to particularly serious (disproportionate) disadvantages if adoption is not carried out. It is also possible to replace a parent's consent if he or she has seriously breached his parental duties and therefore it can be assumed that the child will never live in that parent's household. A replacement of consent is also possible if a parent suffers from a particularly serious mental illness or a particularly serious mental or mental disability and is therefore unable to care for and educate his child permanently, and if, in such a case, the development of the child would be seriously endangered if adoption did not take place. In any case, a replacement of consent is therefore a prerequisite for the child concerned to have significant negative effects if he or she cannot be adopted. Slight disadvantages that may arise for the child if they are not adopted do not justify a replacement of consent to adoption. If consent is to be replaced because a parent is indifferent to his child, the Youth Office is obliged to inform the parent (instruct) that it is possible to replace his/her consent. It must inform the parent that the family court may not replace the consent until after three months after the instruction. This instruction is not required if the parent's whereabouts are not known and, despite the efforts made by the Youth Office, cannot be established in three months. If consent is to be replaced because a parent is indifferent to his child, the Youth Office should inform that parent (advise) what assistance can be offered if the parent himself were to take over the education of his child in his or her family. This counselling does not take place if the child has been in foster care for a long time in the family that wants to adopt it and if the parent's household were to be admitted to the child, serious damage to the child would be expected. In cases where the mother exercises sole parental custody, the Youth Office must advise the father on his legal options. This refers, for example, to the possibility of the father requesting sole parental care for the child.
The various conditions which may lead to a replacement of a parent's consent to the adoption of his or her child are listed under 'Full text'.
The child or his legal representation requests the replacement of the parent's consent at the Family Court. In the relevant cases, the adoption agency of the competent youth office informs and advises the parents concerned. The Family Court decides, with the participation of the parent whose consent is to be replaced, and with consultation of the Youth Office, whether the consent is to be replaced.