2016 Maryland Code
Family Law
Title 5 - Children
Subtitle 3B - Independent Adoption
Part II - Adoption Proceedings.
§ 5-3B-22. Nonconsensual adoption

MD Fam L Code § 5-3B-22 (2016) What's This?

(a) Scope of section. -- This section applies only if a parent affirmatively withholds consent by filing a notice of objection.

(b) Custodian. --

(1) A court may allow adoption, without parental consent otherwise required under this subtitle, by a petitioner who has exercised physical care, control, or custody over the prospective adoptee for at least 180 days, if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that:

(i) the parent has not had custody of the prospective adoptee for at least 1 year;

(ii) the prospective adoptee has significant emotional ties to and feelings for the petitioner; and

(iii) the parent:

1. has not maintained meaningful contact with the prospective adoptee while the petitioner had custody, notwithstanding an opportunity to do so;

2. has failed to contribute to the prospective adoptee's physical care and support, notwithstanding the ability to do so;

3. has subjected the prospective adoptee to:

A. chronic abuse;

B. chronic and life-threatening neglect;

C. sexual abuse; or

D. torture;

4. has been convicted of abuse of any offspring;

5. has been convicted, in any state or any court of the United States, of:

A. a crime of violence against:

I. a minor offspring of the parent;

II. the child; or

III. another parent of the child; or

B. aiding or abetting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit a crime described in item A of this item; or

6. has, other than by consent, lost parental rights to a sibling of the prospective adoptee.

(2) If a court finds that an act or circumstance listed in paragraph (1)(iii)3 or 5 of this subsection exists, the court shall make a specific finding, based on facts in the record, whether return of the prospective adoptee to the custody of the parent poses an unacceptable risk to the prospective adoptee's safety.

(3) In determining whether it is in the best interests of a prospective adoptee to terminate a parent's rights under this subsection, a court shall:

(i) give primary consideration to the health and safety of the prospective adoptee; and

(ii) consider the report required under ยง 5-3B-16 of this subtitle.

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