2006 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Gadd
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 93-17-3, 93-17-12 AND 93-17-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE A SAFE ADOPTION HOME STUDY TO BE PERFORMED IN ALL ADOPTIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 93-17-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-17-3. (1) Any person may be adopted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter in term time or in vacation by an unmarried adult or by a married person whose spouse joins in the petition, provided that the petitioner or petitioners have resided in this state for ninety (90) days preceding the filing of the petition. However, if the petitioner or petitioners, or one (1) of them, are related to the child within the third degree according to civil law, or if the adoption is presented to the court by an adoption agency licensed by the State of Mississippi, the residence restriction shall not apply. The adoption shall be by sworn petition filed in the chancery court of the county in which the adopting petitioner or petitioners reside or in which the child to be adopted resides or was born, or was found when it was abandoned or deserted, or in which the home is located to which the child has been surrendered by a person authorized to so do. The petition shall be accompanied by a doctor's or nurse practitioner's certificate showing the physical and mental condition of the child to be adopted and a sworn statement of all property, if any, owned by the child. If the doctor's or nurse practitioner's certificate indicates any abnormal mental or physical condition or defect, the condition or defect shall not in the discretion of the chancellor bar the adoption of the child if the adopting parent or parents file an affidavit stating full and complete knowledge of the condition or defect and stating a desire to adopt the child, notwithstanding the condition or defect. The court shall have the power to change the name of the child as a part of the adoption proceedings. The word "child" herein shall be construed to refer to the person to be adopted, though an adult.
(2) Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited.
(3) No person may be adopted before a court ordered safe adoption home study of the potential adopting parties is satisfactorily completed.
SECTION 2. Section 93-17-12, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-17-12. In any child custody matter hereafter filed in any chancery or county court in which temporary or permanent custody has already been placed with a parent or guardian and in all other adoptions, the court shall impose a fee for any court-ordered home study performed by the Department of Human Services or any other entity. The fee shall be assessed upon either party or upon both parties in the court's discretion. The minimum fee imposed shall be not less than Three Hundred Fifty Dollars ($350.00) for each household on which a home study is performed. The fee shall be paid directly to the Mississippi Department of Human Services prior to the home study being conducted by the department or to the court of the study is performed by another entity. The judge may order the fee be paid by one or both of the parents or guardian. If the court determines that both parents or the guardian are unable to pay the fee, the judge shall waive the fee and the cost of the home study shall be defrayed by the Department of Human Services.
SECTION 3. Section 93-17-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-17-13. A final decree of adoption shall not be entered before the expiration of six (6) months from the entry of the interlocutory decree except (a) when a child is a stepchild of a petitioner or is related by blood to the petitioner within the third degree according to the rules of the civil law or in any case in which the chancellor in the exercise of his discretion shall determine from all the proceedings and evidence in said cause that the six-month waiting period is not necessary or required for the benefit of the court, the petitioners or the child to be adopted, and shall so adjudicate in the decree entered in said cause, in either of which cases the final decree may be entered immediately without any delay and without an interlocutory decree, or (b) when the child has resided in the home of any petitioner prior to the granting of the interlocutory decree, in which case the court may, in its discretion, shorten the waiting period by the length of time the child has thus resided.
The final decree shall adjudicate, in addition to such other provisions as may be found by the court to be proper for the protection of the interests of the child; and its effect, unless otherwise specifically provided, shall be that (a) the child shall inherit from and through the adopting parents and shall likewise inherit from the other children of the adopting parents to the same extent and under the same conditions as provided for the inheritance between brothers and sisters of the full blood by the laws of descent and distribution of the State of Mississippi, and that the adopting parents and their other children shall inherit from the child, just as if such child had been born to the adopting parents in lawful wedlock; (b) the child and the adopting parents and adoptive kindred are vested with all of the rights, powers, duties and obligations, respectively, as if such child had been born to the adopting parents in lawful wedlock, including all rights existing by virtue of Section 11-7-13, Mississippi Code of 1972; provided, however, that inheritance by or from the adopted child shall be governed by subsection (a) above; (c) that the name of the child shall be changed if desired; and (d) that the natural parents and natural kindred of the child shall not inherit by or through the child except as to a natural parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent, and all parental rights of the natural parent, or parents, shall be terminated, except as to a natural parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent. Nothing in this chapter shall restrict the right of any person to dispose of property under a last will and testament.
A final decree of adoption shall not be entered until a court ordered safe adoption home study is satisfactorily completed.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.