Wisconsin has recently passed a new law that could be a model for other states to follow. Already, lawmakers in Colorado, Nebraska’s regional neighbor, are considering adding such a law to the books. It is possible that other states will follow suit with this law, which governs the transfer of child custody rights between adults.
Until now, there were no regulations and there were no oversight procedures that had to be used in Wisconsin if adults wanted to transfer their rights to the custody of their children, many of whom had been adopted. This created a loophole so that people could basically give away children if they did not want to have them any longer.
In many cases, people would meet other adults who wanted custody of the children on the Internet. They would then arrange to meet, transfer custody to the new adult, and send the child to a new home, all without anyone seeing what was happening.
One example that prompted this new law was that of the mother of a boy who was 9 years old. He had been adopted, but his mother posted an online notice, saying that she wanted to give him away. It took only a few hours to get a response, and she then went to a motel and gave the child away in the parking lot. The man she gave him to was a pedophile.
The new law makes transactions like this illegal, both by outlawing the posting of ads by unlicensed people and by making it so that a judge must approve the change in parental rights. Anyone who is considering a transfer of child custody needs to know how the local laws work in their area so that they can do things in a legal manner, especially if these laws spread to other states.
Source: Reuters, “Wisconsin passes law to curb private custody transfers of children” Megan Twohey, Apr. 16, 2014