Selected Massachusetts Cases on Adoption

by | Apr 14, 2022 | Adoption |

Here are important Massachusetts cases on adoption:

Adoption of Daphne, 484 Mass. 421 (2020)
Discusses the Massachusetts court’s jurisdiction in an adoption by the biological father when the gestational carrier lived in Massachusetts, but the father lived in another country, and had taken the baby to live abroad with him. 

Adoption of Mariano, 77 Mass. App. Ct. 656 (2010)
It was not in the child’s best interests to allow his divorcing father to surrender his parental rights, and his divorcing mother to adopt him. “This case illustrates a firm principle in Massachusetts family law. In the negotiation of their disengagement, divorcing parents may not bargain away the best interests of their children.”

Adoption of Marlene, 443 Mass. 494 (2005) 
Supreme Judicial Court held: “We conclude that a parent’s consent to adoption of his or her child under G.L. c. 210, § 2 , does not terminate the parental duty to support the child.”

Adoption of Meaghan, 461 Mass. 1006 (2012)
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the probate court judge’s order appointing counsel for an indigent father and child in a private party adoption. “Where the petitioner is a private party, the same fundamental, constitutionally protected interests are at stake, and the cost of erroneously terminating a parent’s rights remains too high to require an indigent parent to risk without counsel.”

Adoption of a Minor, 471 Mass. 373 (2015)
Lawful parentage, and its associated rights and responsibilities, are conferred by statute on the consenting spouse of a married couple whose child is conceived by one woman of the marriage, through the use of assisted reproductive technology consented to by both women. (Chapter 46 sec 4B)

Adoption of Tammy, 416 Mass. 205 (1993)
Supreme Judicial Court stated that statute did not preclude same-sex cohabitants from jointly adopting child, and that adoption was in best interests of child.

Adoption of Thomas, 408 Mass. 446 (1990)
“A minor parent can consent to the adoption of his or her child; [and] the Probate Court is not prohibited by the filing of a consent in accordance with c. 210, Section 2, from taking evidence concerning the maturity and understanding of the minor parent at the time of the consent and the voluntariness of the consent, or from appointing a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of the minor parent.”

Adoption of Varik, 95 Mass. App. Ct. 762 (2019) 
The Appeals Court found that the adoption plan proposed by the department of Children and Families was inadequate. The adoption plan did not convey enough information for the judge to assess the options that the department was considering. It failed to specify the type of adoptive parents and the characteristics of the home environment best suited to meet the specific needs of the child. The Court vacated the decree for Adoption insofar as it relates to the approval of the adoption plan.

Fineberg v. Suffolk Div. of Probate and Family Court Dept., 38 Mass. App. Ct. 907 (1995)
An adopted child “does not have an automatic right to access” identifying information about their biological parent, and can only access that type of information “upon a showing of good cause.”

Magazu v. Dept. of Children and Families, 473 Mass. 430 (2016)
The denial of a couple’s application “to become foster and pre-adoptive parents because of their use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline in their home” was OK, even though they held a sincere belief that “physical discipline is an integral aspect of their Christian faith.”

Mohr v. Commonwealth, 421 Mass. 147 (1995)
Adoptive parents may recover in a “wrongful adoption” action based on adoption agency’s material misrepresentations of fact regarding child’s history prior to adoption.

White v. Laingoir, 434 Mass. 64 (2001)
Without the consent of the 12 year old child, under G.L. c.210 § 2, she could not be adopted.

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