Section 26-10A-25

Final decree; dispositional hearing.

(a) When the pre-placement investigation has been completed and approved or the investigation has been waived for good cause shown, the petition for adoption shall be set for a dispositional hearing as soon as possible or no later than 90 days after the filing of the petition. When there has not been a pre-placement investigation or the investigation has not been waived for good cause shown or when the adoptee is a special needs child, the petition for adoption shall be set for a dispositional hearing as soon as possible or no later than 120 days after the filing of the petition. Upon good cause shown, the court may extend the time for the dispositional hearing and entry of the final decree.

(b) At the dispositional hearing, the court shall grant a final decree of adoption if it finds on clear and convincing evidence that:

(1) The adoptee has been in the actual physical custody of the petitioners for a period of 60 days, unless for good cause shown, this requirement is waived by the court;

(2) All necessary consents, relinquishments, terminations, or waivers have been obtained and, if appropriate, have been filed with the court;

(3) Service of the notice of pendency of the adoption proceeding has been made or dispensed with as to all persons entitled to receive notice under Section 26-10A-17;

(4) All contests brought under Section 26-10A-24 have been resolved in favor of the petitioner;

(5) That each petitioner is a suitable adopting parent and desires to establish a parent and child relationship between himself or herself and the adoptee;

(6) That the best interests of the adoptee are served by the adoption; and

(7) All other requirements of this chapter have been met.

(c) The court shall enter its finding in a written decree which shall also include the new name of the adoptee, and shall not include any other name by which the adoptee has been known or the names of the natural or presumed parents. The final decree shall further order that from the date of the decree, the adoptee shall be the child of the petitioners, and that the adoptee shall be accorded the status set forth in Section 26-10A-29.

(d) A final decree of adoption may not be collaterally attacked, except in cases of fraud or where the adoptee has been kidnapped, after the expiration of one year from the entry of the final decree and after all appeals, if any.

(Acts 1990, No. 90-554, p. 912, §25.)