Arkansas adds limited right to counsel for parents in adoptions

Key_development Question_mark

09/14/2021, Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Ark. Code § 9-9-208(d) provides:


(1)A parent whose consent to adoption is required under this subchapter shall have limited, independent legal representation for the purpose of:

(A) Executing the consent to adoption; and

(B) Withdrawing the consent to adoption if the parent elects to withdraw the consent as permitted under this subchapter.

(2) The attorney:

(A) Shall not represent any other party in the adoption; 

(B) Shall certify, by signing the writing after its execution by the parent, that:

(i) The attorney has explained to the parent the effect of consenting to the adoption; and

(ii) The parent appeared to consent voluntarily and of his or her own free will.

(3) This subsection shall not apply to an adoption if the petitioner is:

(A) A stepparent whose spouse is a natural or adoptive parent of the child to be adopted;

(B) Related to the child to be adopted within the second degree as defined in § 28-9-212; or

(C) Represented by an attorney pro bono in the adoption proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes