PA Adoptions: Contested and Uncontested Hearings

In a previous blog, we discussed Pennsylvania adoption home studies. A home study is necessary in every Pennsylvania adoption case. Once the home study is complete and all clearances have been obtained it is then time to concentrate on the next step in the adoption process.

Opposed or Unopposed?

Adoptions are either contested (i.e., opposed), or uncontested (i.e., unopposed). If the other biological parent consents to the adoption, things go a lot smoother in most cases. If, however, you are facing a contested adoption (i.e., the other biological parent does not consent, or cannot be located), you must then proceed in a different, and sometimes more contentious manner.

Court Documents

Whether your adoption is contested or not, will determine what type of court documents need to be filed and which hearing must be requested. If you have two consenting biological parents, then your attorney will need to file a petition requesting the court approve the written consents of each.

However, if the action is contested, you will be required to file a petition to have the parental rights of the contesting parent(s) involuntarily terminated. You will want an attorney who is familiar with Adoption Law, as the statute sets forth specific terms for which you may seek termination of parental rights.

Once the petition is filed with the Court and proper notice has been given to the contesting parent(s), a hearing will be held to determine whether the termination of parental rights will be granted, or denied. Each biological parent will be provided an opportunity to explain why their rights should not be terminated at this hearing.

Please note how important the legal procedure is relative to the service of legal notice to each parent who has contested the adoption. Your attorney must provide the court with acceptable proof that each parent had received this notice in the manner specified in the adoption statute.


As you can imagine, there are many complicated steps in the adoption process, and in particular, in a contested adoption. It is in your best interest to have a legal expert on your side.

The attorneys at Trinity Law are ready and eager to assist you with your Pennsylvania adoption. Trinity Law’s adoption lawyers have been helping families with adoptions for over 30 years. Please contact us at or call 717-843-8046 to schedule a consultation or to obtain more information about adoptions in Pennsylvania.

Learn more in our follow up post, PA Adoptions: What to Expect After You Have Filed the Necessary Petitions.