2006 New Mexico Statutes - Section 32A-5-22 — Persons required to receive counseling; content and form of counseling.

32A-5-22. Persons required to receive counseling; content and form of counseling.

A.     Counseling required pursuant to the provisions of this section shall occur prior to:   

(1)     consent to the adoption; or   

(2)     the relinquishment of parental rights.   

For good cause, the court may waive any or all counseling requirements.   

B.     Counseling shall be required for the following persons:   

(1)     the adoptee, if the adoptee is ten years of age or older;   

(2)     the adoptee's parent who is consenting to the adoption or relinquishing parental rights; and   

(3)     in a stepparent adoption, when the stepparent and the custodial parent have been married for more than one year, but less than two years:   

(a)     the custodial parent whose parental rights are not being terminated, but who is consenting to adoption of the adoptee by the stepparent; and   

(b)     the petitioning stepparent.   

C.     The content of the counseling shall be as follows:   

(1)     an adoptee who is ten years of age or older shall be counseled regarding:   

(a)     the adoptee's understanding of the adoption process, the consequences of the adoption and alternatives to the adoption;   

(b)     the adoptee's feelings and wishes regarding the adoption;   

(c)     the adoptee's readiness for the adoption; and   

(d)     any other issues relevant to the adoption, given the specific circumstances of the adoption;   

(2)     the adoptee's parent who is consenting to the adoption or relinquishing his parental rights shall be counseled regarding alternatives to and the consequences of adoption; and   

(3)     in a stepparent adoption, the custodial parent consenting to the adoption of the custodial parent's child by the stepparent and the petitioning stepparent shall be counseled regarding alternatives to adoption, the consequences of the adoption, child custody and child support.   

D.     The form of the counseling shall be as follows:   

(1)     adults required to receive counseling shall be counseled individually without the presence of any other person for a minimum of one counseling session; and   

(2)     for adoptees ten years of age or older and minor biological parents, there shall be a minimum of two separate counseling sessions with at least one of the sessions to be conducted without the presence of the adoptee's parent or guardian, the minor biological parent's parent or guardian or the petitioner.   

E.     All counseling sessions shall be conducted in the primary language of the person receiving the counseling.   

F.     A counseling narrative shall be prepared as prescribed by department regulation and shall be attached to the consent or relinquishment form for filing with the court.   

G.     Counseling may be provided by a counselor, the department or an agency.   

H.     A person required to receive counseling who is residing outside of New Mexico may receive counseling from a person who possesses qualifications equivalent to a person certified to perform counseling by the state of New Mexico. A person providing counseling in another state or country shall attach a statement specifying that person's qualification to perform counseling to the counseling narrative.  A person providing counseling in New Mexico shall attach a copy of that person's certification to the counseling narrative.   

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