2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 48. Children's code.
48.839 Adoption of foreign children.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 48.839 (2017)

48.839 Adoption of foreign children.

(1)Bond required.

(a) Any resident of this state who has been appointed by a court of a foreign jurisdiction as guardian of a child who is a citizen of that jurisdiction, before bringing the child into this state for the purpose of adopting the child, shall file with the department a $1,000 noncancelable bond in favor of this state, furnished by a surety company licensed to do business in this state. The condition of the bond shall be that the child will not become dependent on public funds for his or her primary support before he or she is adopted.

(b) By filing the bond required under par. (a), the child's guardian and the surety submit to the jurisdiction of the court in the county in which the guardian resides for purposes of liability on the bond, and appoint the clerk of the court as their agent upon whom any papers affecting their bond liability may be served. Their liability on the bond may be enforced without the commencement of an independent action.

(c) If upon affidavit of the department it appears to the court that the condition of the bond has been violated, the court shall order the guardian and the surety to show cause why judgment on the bond should not be entered for the department. If neither the guardian nor the surety appear for the hearing on the order to show cause, or if the court concludes after the hearing that the condition of the bond has been violated, the court shall enter judgment on the bond for the department against the guardian and the surety.

(d) If custody of the child is transferred under sub. (4) (b) to a county department or child welfare agency before the child is adopted, the department shall periodically bill the guardian and the surety under s. 49.32 (1) (b) or 49.345 for the cost of care and maintenance of the child until the child is adopted or becomes age 18, whichever is earlier. The guardian and surety shall also be liable under the bond for costs incurred by the department in enforcing the bond against the guardian and surety.

(e) This section does not preclude the department or any other agency given custody of a child under sub. (4) (b) from collecting under s. 49.32 (1) (b) or 49.345 from the former guardian for costs in excess of the amount recovered under the bond incurred in enforcing the bond and providing care and maintenance for the child until he or she reaches age 18 or is adopted.

(f) The department may waive the bond requirement under this subsection.

(2)Evidence of availability for adoption required.

(a) Any resident of this state who has been appointed by a court of a foreign jurisdiction as guardian of a child who is a citizen of that jurisdiction and who intends to bring the child into this state for the purpose of adopting the child shall file with the department a certified copy of the judgment or order of a court of the foreign jurisdiction or other instrument having the effect under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction of freeing the child for adoption. If the instrument is not a judgment or order of a court, the guardian shall also file with the department a copy of the law under which the instrument was issued, unless the department waives this requirement. The guardian shall also file English translations of the court judgment or order or other instrument and of the law. The department shall return the originals to the guardian and keep on file a copy of each document.

(b) If the guardian files a judgment or order of a court under par. (a), the department shall review the judgment or order. If the department determines that the judgment or order has the effect of freeing the child for adoption, if the department has been furnished with a copy of a home study that was conducted as provided in s. 48.88 (2) recommending the guardian as an adoptive parent, if a licensed child welfare agency has been identified to provide the services required under sub. (5), if the guardian has filed the bond required under sub. (1), and if the guardian has completed the preadoption preparation required under s. 48.84 (1) or the department has determined that the guardian is not required to complete that preparation, the department shall certify to the U.S. citizenship and immigration services that all preadoptive requirements of this state that can be met before the child's arrival in the United States have been met.

(c) If the guardian files an instrument other than a judgment or order of a court under par. (a), the department shall review the instrument. If the department determines that the instrument has the effect under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction of freeing the child for adoption, if the department has been furnished with a copy of a home study recommending the adoptive parents, if a licensed child welfare agency has been identified to provide the services required under sub. (5), if the guardian has filed the bond required under sub. (1), and if the guardian has completed the preadoption preparation required under s. 48.84 (1) or the department has determined that the guardian is not required to complete that preparation, the department shall certify to the U.S. citizenship and immigration services that all preadoptive requirements of this state that can be met prior to the child's arrival in the United States have been met.

(3)Petition for adoption or termination of parental rights required.

(a) Within 60 days after the arrival of a child brought into this state from a foreign jurisdiction for the purpose of adoption, the individual who is the child's guardian shall file a petition to adopt the child, a petition to terminate parental rights to the child, or both. If only a petition to terminate parental rights to the child is filed under this paragraph, the individual guardian shall file a petition for adoption within 60 days of the order terminating parental rights. The individual guardian shall file with the court the documents filed with the department under sub. (2) (a).

(b) Except as provided in par. (a) and sub. (4) (a), the termination of a parent's parental rights to a child who is a citizen of a foreign jurisdiction is not required prior to the child's adoption by his or her guardian.

(c) If a petition for adoption is filed under par. (a), the individual guardian filing the petition shall file a copy of the petition with the department at the time the petition is filed with the court. If the individual guardian filed an instrument other than a court order or judgment under sub. (2) (a), the department may make a recommendation to the court as to whether the instrument filed has the effect under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction of freeing the child for adoption.

(d) If a petition for adoption is filed under par. (a) and the individual guardian filing the petition filed an instrument other than a court order or judgment under sub. (2) (a), the court shall determine whether the instrument filed has the effect under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction of freeing the child for adoption. The court shall presume that the instrument has that effect unless there are substantial irregularities on the face of the document or unless the department shows good cause for believing that the instrument does not have that effect. If the court determines that the instrument does not have the effect of freeing the child for adoption, the court shall order the petitioner to file a petition to terminate parental rights under s. 48.42 within 10 days.

(e) If a petition for adoption is filed under par. (a) and the individual guardian filing the petition filed a court order or judgment under sub. (2) (a), the court order or judgment shall be legally sufficient evidence that the child is free for adoption.

(4)Transfer of guardianship; forfeiture of bond. If a guardian does not file a petition as required under sub. (3) (a) or (d), or if the petition for adoption under sub. (3) is withdrawn or denied, the court:

(a) Shall transfer guardianship of the child to the department, to a county department under s. 48.57 (1) (e) or (hm) or to a child welfare agency under s. 48.61 (5) and order the guardian to file a petition for termination of parental rights under s. 48.42 within 10 days.

(b) Shall transfer legal custody of the child to the department, in a county having a population of 750,000 or more, to a county department or to a child welfare agency licensed under s. 48.60.

(c) Shall order the guardian who filed the bond under sub. (1) (a) to show cause why the bond should not be forfeited.

(d) May order that physical custody of the child remain with a suitable individual with whom the child has been living.

(5)Child welfare services required. Any child welfare agency licensed under s. 48.60 that negotiates or arranges the placement of a child for adoption under this section shall provide services to the child and to the proposed adoptive parents until the child's adoption is final.

History: 1981 c. 81; 1985 a. 176; 1997 a. 27; 2005 a. 293; 2007 a. 20; 2015 a. 172, 380.

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