Replacement of a parent's consent to adoption
If a child is to be adopted, both parents and the child must consent to adoption. The consent of a parent may be replaced by the family court in certain exceptional cases. A replacement of a parent's consent is possible if he or she is indifferent to his or her child or grossly violates his or her obligations towards his or her child for a longer period of time. In the aforementioned cases, consent can only be replaced if it would be associated with particularly serious (disproportionate) disadvantages for the child concerned if adoption does not take place. A replacement of a parent's consent is also possible if the parent has violated his or her parental duties particularly seriously and for this reason 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 emotional disability and for this reason cannot permanently care for and educate his child and if in such a case the development of the child would be seriously endangered if adoption does not take place. A prerequisite for a replacement of consent is therefore in any case that it has significant negative effects for the child concerned if it cannot be adopted. Slight disadvantages that can arise for the child if he is not adopted do not justify the replacement of consent to adoption. If the consent is to be replaced because a parent is indifferent to his child, the Youth Welfare Office is obliged to inform (instruct) the parent that a replacement of his consent is possible. It must inform the parent that the family court may only replace the consent after three months have elapsed after the instruction. This instruction is not required if the residence of the parent is not known and cannot be determined in three months despite appropriate efforts by the Youth Welfare Office. If the consent is to be replaced because a parent is indifferent to his child, the Youth Welfare Office should inform this parent about what help can be offered if the parent himself would take over the upbringing of his child in his family. This advice does not take place if the child has been in care for a long time in the family that wants to adopt it and serious damage to the child would be expected if it were admitted to the parent's household. Replacement of the father's consent is possible if the mother has sole parental authority over a child. In the aforementioned cases, consent can only be replaced if it would be associated with particularly serious (disproportionate) disadvantages for the child concerned if adoption does not take place. In cases where the mother exercises sole parental authority, the Youth Welfare Office must advise the father on his legal options. What is meant here is, for example, a reference to the possibility of the father applying for sole parental care of the child.
The child or his or her legal representation applies to the family court for the replacement of the parent's consent. In the appropriate cases, the adoption agency of the responsible youth welfare office instructs and advises the parents concerned. The family court decides with the participation of the parent whose consent is to be replaced and with the hearing of the Youth Welfare Office whether the consent is to be replaced.
Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Gender Equality
Last update or date of publication