Montana

Montana

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

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Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 42-6-102

Information may be provided to:

  • The adult adopted person
  • The adoptive or birth parent
  • An extended family member of an adopted person or birth parent
  • A court-appointed confidential intermediary

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 42-6-102

Upon request, all nonidentifying information will be provided to a person listed above.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-6-102; 42-6-103; 42-6-104

The department may disclose identifying information:

  • To a court-appointed confidential intermediary
  • As needed to assist an adopted person to become enrolled in an Indian Tribe
  • To authorized personnel during a Federal Child and Family Services Review

Information may be disclosed to any person who consents in writing to the release of confidential information to other interested persons who have also consented. Identifying information pertaining to an adoption involving an adopted person who is still a child may not be disclosed based upon a consensual exchange of information unless the adopted person’s adoptive parent consents in writing.

An adult adopted person, an adoptive or birth parent, or an adult extended family member may petition the court for disclosure of identifying information regarding the adopted person, a birth child, a birth parent, or an extended family member.

After a petition has been filed, the court shall appoint a confidential intermediary who shall conduct a confidential search for the person being sought. If the intermediary locates the person being sought, a confidential inquiry must be made as to whether the located person consents to having his or her present identity disclosed to the petitioner. If the person being sought does not consent, identifying information regarding that person may be disclosed only upon order of the court for good cause shown. If the person being sought is found to be deceased, the court may order disclosure of identifying information to the petitioner.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code § 42-6-109

For a person adopted on or before July 1, 1967, the department shall furnish a copy of the original birth certificate upon the written request of an adopted person.

For a person adopted between July 1, 1967 and September 30, 1997, the department shall furnish a copy of the original birth certificate upon a court order.

For a person adopted on or after October 1, 1997, the department shall furnish a copy of the original birth certificate upon the written request of an adopted person who is age 18 or older unless the birth parent has requested in writing that the original birth certificate not be automatically released, or by a court order.

For a person adopted on or after October 1, 1997, upon the request of an adoptive parent or an adopted person who is age 18 or older, the department shall issue a certificate of adoption that states the date and place of adoption, the date of birth of the adopted person, the name of each adoptive parent, and the name of the adopted person as provided in the decree.

A birth parent may request in writing to the Vital Statistics Bureau that the birth certificate for an adopted person not be released without a court order.

The department may release a copy of the adopted person’s original birth certificate if release of this document is required to assist an adopted person to become enrolled in or a member of an Indian Tribe.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Office of Vital Statistics, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

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Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-3-101; 42-4-203
Information about birth families shall be provided by a birth parent, the Department of Public Health and Human Services, or an agency. A parent placing a child for adoption shall provide information about the child.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code § 42-4-203
A parent placing a child for adoption shall identify and provide information pertaining to any Indian heritage of the child that would bring the child within the jurisdiction of the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1901, et seq.A parent placing a child for adoption shall provide:

  • The disclosures of medical and social histories
  • A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate or other document certifying the place and date of the child’s birth
  • A certified copy of any existing court orders pertaining to custody or visitation of the child

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Ann. Code § 42-3-101
In any adoption under this title, a birth parent, the department, or an agency shall provide a prospective adoptive parent with social and medical histories of the birth families, including Tribal affiliation, if applicable.In a direct parental placement adoption, the birth family social and medical histories must be completed on a form provided by the department.

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Ann. Code § 42-3-101
The birth family social and medical histories must be filed with the court when the adoption petition is filed.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
Citation: Ann. Code § 42-3-101
The requirement to provide medical and social histories does not apply in an adoption proceeding by a stepparent.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

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Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 72-2-124; 42-4-311
An adopted individual is the child of an adopting parent or parents and not of the birth parents. Adoption of a child by the spouse of either birth parent has no effect on:

  • The relationship between the child and that birth parent
  • The right of the child or a descendant of the child to inherit from or through the other birth parent

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code § 72-2-124
For purposes of intestate succession, a parent-child relationship exists between an adopted person and an adopting parent.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 72-2-332; 72-2-715
If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any child who was adopted after the execution of the will, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:

  • If the testator had no child living when he or she executed the will, an omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to what the child would have received had the testator died intestate, unless the will gave all or substantially all of the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to take under the will.
  • If the testator had one or more children living when he or she executed the will, and the will gave property or an interest in property to one or more of the then-living children, then an omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share in the estate as follows:
    • The portion of the estate in which the omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share is limited to bequests made to the testator’s then-living children under the will.
    • The omitted after-adopted child is entitled to receive the share of the estate, as limited, that the child would have received had the testator included all omitted after-born and after-adopted children with the children to whom bequests were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.

The above does not apply if:

  • It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
  • The testator provided for the omitted after-adopted child by transfer outside the will with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

Adopted individuals and their respective descendants, if appropriate to the class, are included in class gifts and other terms of relationship in accordance with the rules for intestate succession.

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State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

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Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Ann. Code § 42-2-101

A decree or order of adoption has the same effect as a decree or order of adoption issued by a court of this State if the decree or order is entered by a court or administrative entity in another country acting pursuant to:

  • That country’s laws
  • Any convention or treaty on intercountry adoption that the United States has ratified

The rights and obligations of the parties must be determined as though the decree or order were issued by a court of this State.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code §§ 50-15-311(6); 50-15-223(8)

If the birth of an adopted child occurred in a foreign country and the adopted child was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth, the department shall prepare a ‘Certificate of Foreign Birth,’ as required by § 50-15-223. If the adopted child was born in Canada, the department shall send a copy of the certificate of adoption, report of annulment of adoption, or amendment of a decree of adoption to the appropriate registration authority in Canada.

The department shall, upon request of the adopting parents, prepare and register a certificate of birth in this State for a person who was born in a foreign country and adopted through a district court in this State.

The certificate of birth must be established by the department upon receipt of a certificate of adoption, conforming to the requirements of § 50-15-311, from the court that reflects entry of an order of adoption, proof of the date and place of the child’s birth, and a request for the establishment of a certificate of birth from the court, the adopting parents, or the adoptee, if he or she is age 18 or older.

The certificate of birth must be labeled ‘Certificate of Foreign Birth’ and must contain the actual country of birth. A statement must be included on the certificate indicating that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child for whom it is issued.

After registration of the certificate of birth in the new name of the adoptee, the department shall seal and file the certificate of adoption. The certificate is not subject to inspection, except upon order of the district court, as provided by rule, or as otherwise provided by State law.


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