§ 15-7-5. Consent required.
(a) The parents of the child, or their survivor, shall, except as provided in this section, consent in writing to the adoption, or the petition shall be dismissed. If neither parent is living, the guardian of the person of the child, or, if there is no guardian, the next of kin, may give consent; or if there is no next of kin, the court may appoint some suitable person to act in the proceedings as next friend of the child, and to give or withhold the consent; provided, that if the child is of the age of fourteen (14) years or over, the adoption shall not be made without the child's consent. In case the child to be adopted is eighteen (18) years or older, the consent of, or notice to, the child's parents or other person in the child's behalf shall not be required.
(b)(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, when the petitioners are one of the natural parents of the child and his or her spouse or one of the grandparents of the child and the child is residing, at the time the petition is filed, with the petitioners, if the noncustodial parent refused to consent to the adoption, the court shall determine whether the noncustodial parent's rights shall be terminated involuntarily. In making the determination, the court shall apply the grounds for termination of parental rights set forth in § 15-7-7; provided, that the petitioners need not demonstrate, and the court shall not require, efforts to encourage and strengthen the child's relationship with the noncustodial parent prior to terminating his or her parental rights.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, when the petitioners are one of the natural parents of the child and his or her spouse or one of the grandparents of the child and the child is residing, at the time the petition is filed, with the petitioners, and if the noncustodial parent refuses to consent to the adoption, then the court may grant the petition without a noncustodial parent's consent if the petitioners prove by clear and convincing evidence any of the grounds set forth in § 15-7-7(a)(1), (2), or (4). The standard of proof in these cases shall be by clear and convincing evidence and the court shall give primary consideration to the physical, psychological, mental, and intellectual needs of the child insofar as that consideration is not inconsistent with other provisions of this chapter.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 192, § 2; G.L. 1909, ch. 244, § 2; P.L. 1915, ch. 1197, § 2; G.L. 1923, ch. 288, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 420, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 420, § 3; P.L. 1955, ch. 3483, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 15-7-5; P.L. 1970, ch. 132, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 232, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 29, § 1.)