By Kathering Meger Kelsey, Kids' Voice of Indiana
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when adoption notice we give and receive!
Obviously, it’s not a direct quote from Walter Scott’s Marmion, but it certainly adapts well to adoption notice laws in Indiana. Even our own Justice Theodore Boehm opined in a case regarding adoption notice that our adoption notice statutes “taken together, seem to provide multiple opportunities for confusion and even intentional obfuscation." In Re B.W., 908 N.E.2d 586, 594 (Ind. 2009) (Boehm, J concurring).
Questions about who does and does not get notice, and under what circumstances, often come up in adoption cases. The various family and juvenile law email listservs always seem to have one such question floating about, Kids’ Voice’s Children’s Law Center often receives calls on the topic and attorneys certainly bat the question of notice back and forth with each other, seeking advice and experience. Indiana’s adoption notice laws are complex, unforgiving, and sometimes, contradictory. While we were writing the Indiana CHINS and Family Law Deskbook, I began doodling a chart of adoption notice laws. This eventually grew into a formal, organized chart that maps out all the Indiana adoption notice laws, to whom they apply and their effect.
While this Adoption Notice Chart is not exhaustive—we all know how facts love to surprise us with new and creative scenarios—it’s a good reference point for most of the adoption notice laws in Indiana. Happy charting, and have fun navigating those tangled adoption notice webs!
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