N.M. Stat. § 32A-5-13

New Mexico Statutes

Chapter 32A. Children's Code

Article 5. Adoption Act


§ 32A-5-13. Independent adoptions; request for placement; placement order; certification


A. When a placement order is required, the petitioner shall file a request with the court to allow the placement. An order permitting the placement shall be obtained prior to actual placement.


B. Only a pre-placement study that has been prepared or updated within one year immediately prior to the date of placement, approving the petitioner as an appropriate adoptive parent, shall be filed with the court prior to issuance of a placement order, except as provided in Subsection C of Section 32A-5-12 NMSA 1978.


C. In order for a person to be certified to conduct pre-placement studies, the person shall meet the standards promulgated by the department. If the child is an Indian child, the person shall meet the standards set forth in the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 [FN1].


D. The pre-placement study shall be conducted by an agency or a person certified by the department to conduct the study. A person or agency that wants to be certified to perform pre-placement studies shall file documents verifying their qualifications with the department. The department shall publish a list of persons or agencies certified to conduct a pre-placement study. If necessary to defray additional costs associated with compiling the list, the department may assess and charge a reasonable administrative fee to the person or agency listed.


E. When a person or agency that wants to be certified to perform pre-placement studies files false documentation with the department, the person or agency shall be subject to the provisions of Section 32A-5-42 NMSA 1978.


F. A request for placement shall be filed and verified by the petitioner and shall allege:


(1) the full name, age and place and duration of residence of the petitioner and, if married, the place and date of marriage;


(2) the date and place of birth of the adoptee, if known, or the anticipated date and place of birth of the adoptee;


(3) a detailed statement of the circumstances and persons involved in the proposed placement;


(4) if the adoptee has been born, the address where the adoptee is residing at the time of the request for placement;


(5) if the adoptee has been born, the places where the adoptee has lived within the past three years and the names and addresses of the persons with whom the adoptee has lived. If the adoptee is in the custody of an agency or the department, the address shall be the address of the agency or the county office of the department from which the child was placed;


(6) the existence of any court orders that are known to the petitioner and that regulate custody, visitation or access to the adoptee, copies of which shall be attached to the request for placement as exhibits; if copies of any such court orders are unavailable at the time of filing the request for placement, the copies shall be filed prior to the issuance of the order of placement;


(7) that the petitioner desires to establish a parent and child relationship between the petitioner and the adoptee and that the petitioner is a fit and proper person able to care and provide for the adoptee's welfare;


(8) the relationship, if any, of the petitioner to the adoptee;


(9) whether the adoptee is subject to the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, and, if so, the petition shall allege the actions taken to comply with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 and all other allegations required pursuant to that act;


(10) whether the adoption is subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and what specific actions have been taken to comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children; and


(11) the name, address and telephone number of the agency or investigator who has agreed to do the pre-placement study.


G. The request for placement shall be served on all parties entitled to receive notice of the filing of a petition for adoption, as provided in Section 32A-5-27 NMSA 1978. An order allowing placement may be entered prior to service of the request for placement.


H. A hearing and the court decision on the request for placement shall occur within thirty days of the filing of the request.


I. As part of any court order authorizing placement under this section, the court shall find whether the pre-placement study complies with Section 32A-5-14 NMSA 1978 and that the time requirements concerning placement set forth in this section have been met.


L. 1993, Ch. 77, § 140; L. 1995, Ch. 206, § 31, eff. July 1, 1995; L. 2001, Ch. 162, § 2; L. 2005, Ch. 189, § 61, eff. June 17, 2005.


[FN1] 25 U.S.C.A. § 1901 et seq.

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