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NEW MEXICO

Adoption Law

 

New Mexico does not recognize the rights of adult adoptees to obtain their own original birth certificates. It takes a court order to obtain an OBC.

 

Identifying information, which may include an original birth certificate, is available to an adult adoptee by court order but only after good cause is shown. New Mexico provides a list of factors it considers in determining whether “good cause” has been demonstrated.

 

 

Relevant New Mexico Law: Original Birth Certificates

24-14-17. New birth certificates following adoption, legitimation and paternity determination
A. The state registrar shall establish a new certificate of birth for a person born in this state when he receives the following:

(2) a request that a new certificate of birth
(1) a report of adoption as provided in this section, a report of adoption prepared and filed in accordance with the laws of another state or country or a certified copy of the decree of adoption together with the information necessary to identify the original certificate of birth and to establish a new certificate of birth; except that a new certificate of birth shall not be established if so requested by the court decreeing the adoption, the adoptive parents or the adopted person; or
be established and evidence as required by regulation proving that the person has been legitimated or that a court has determined the paternity of the person.

 

B. When a new certificate of birth is established, the actual place and date of birth shall be shown. It shall be substituted for the original certificate of birth. Thereafter, the original certificate and the evidence of adoption, paternity determination or legitimation shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court or in accordance with the provisions of Section 24-14-13 NMSA 1978 or in the case of a single adoptive parent.

 

C. Upon receipt of notice of annulment of adoption, the original certificate of birth shall be restored to its place in the files, and the new certificate and evidence shall not be subject to inspection except upon order of a court.

 

D. If no certificate of birth is on file for the person for whom a new certificate is to be established under this section, a delayed certificate of birth shall be filed with the state registrar as provided in Section 24-14-15 NMSA 1978 before a new certificate of birth is established.

 

E. For each adoption decreed by a court in this state, the court shall require the preparation of a report of adoption on a form prescribed and furnished by the state registrar. The report shall include such facts as are necessary to locate and identify the certificate of birth of the person adopted, shall provide information necessary to establish a new certificate of birth of the person adopted and shall identify the order of adoption and be certified by the clerk of the court.

 

24-14-19. Adoption of foreign-born; certificate of birth
A. The state registrar shall establish a certificate of birth for a person of foreign birth adopted under New Mexico law when the registrar receives:

(1) a certified copy of a judgment of adoption granted by the court;
(2) an order issued by the court to establish a certificate of birth for that adopted person; and
(3) any other evidence as provided in Section 24-14-17 NMSA 1978 necessary to establish a new certificate of birth.

 

B. The certificate of birth established under this section shall be on a form prescribed by the state registrar and shall show the probable country of birth, pursuant to the findings of the court, and shall state that the certificate is not evidence of United States citizenship.

 

32A-5-38. Birth certificates
A. Within thirty days after an adoption decree becomes final, the petitioner shall prepare an application for a birth certificate in the new name of the adoptee, showing the petitioner as the adoptee’s parent, and shall provide the application to the clerk of the court. The petitioner shall forward the application:

(1) for a person born in the United States, to the appropriate vital statistics office of the place, if known, where the adoptee was born; or
(2) for all other persons, to the state registrar of vital statistics. In the case of the adoption of a person born outside the United States, if requested by the petitioner, the court shall make findings, based on evidence from the petitioner and other reliable state or federal sources, on the date and place of birth of the adoptee. These findings shall be certified by the court and included with the application for a birth certificate.

 

B. The state registrar of vital statistics shall prepare a birth record in the new name of the adoptee in accordance with the vital statistics laws, but subject to the requirements of the Adoption Act as to the confidentiality of adoption records.

 

 

Relevant New Mexico Law: Adoption Records

32A-5-8. Confidentiality of records

A. Unless the petitioner agrees to be contacted or agrees to the release of the petitioner’s identity to the parent and the parent agrees to be contacted or agrees to the release of the parent’s identity to the petitioner, the attorneys, the court, the agency and the department shall maintain confidentiality regarding the names of the parties, unless the information is already otherwise known. After the petition is filed and prior to the entry of the decree, the records in adoption proceedings shall be open to inspection only by the attorney for the petitioner, the department or the agency, any attorney appointed as a guardian ad litem or attorney for the adoptee, any attorney retained by the adoptee or other persons upon order of the court for good cause shown.

B. All records, whether on file with the court, an agency, the department, an attorney or other provider of professional services in connection with an adoption, are confidential and may be disclosed only pursuant to the provisions of the Adoption Act. All information and documentation provided for the purpose of full disclosure is confidential. Documentation provided for the purpose of full disclosure shall remain the property of the person making full disclosure when a prospective adoptive parent decides not to accept a placement. Immediately upon refusal of the placement, the prospective adoptive parent shall return all full disclosure documentation to the person providing full disclosure. A prospective adoptive parent shall not disclose any confidential information received during the full disclosure process, except as necessary to make a placement decision or to provide information to a child’s guardian ad litem or attorney or the court.

C. All hearings in adoption proceedings shall be confidential and shall be held in closed court without admittance of any person other than parties and their counsel.

D. A person who intentionally and unlawfully releases any information or records closed to the public pursuant to the Adoption Act or releases or makes other unlawful use of records in violation of that act is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978.

E. Prior to the entry of the decree of adoption, the parent consenting to the adoption or relinquishing parental rights to an agency or the department shall execute an affidavit stating whether the parent will permit contact or the disclosure of the parent’s identity to the adoptee or the adoptee’s prospective adoptive parents.

32A-5-40. Post-decree of adoption access to records
A. After the decree of adoption has been entered, all court files containing records of judicial proceedings conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Adoption Act and records submitted to the court in the proceedings shall be kept in separate locked files withheld from public inspection. Upon application to the clerk of the court, the records shall be open to inspection by a former parent if the adoptee is eighteen years of age or older, by an adoptee if the adoptee is eighteen years of age or older at the time application is made for inspection, by the adoptive parent if the adoptee is under eighteen years of age at the time application is made for inspection, by the attorney of any party, by any agency that has exercised guardianship over or legal custody of a child who was the adoptee in the particular proceeding, by the department or by an adoptee’s sibling; provided that the identity of the former parents and of the adoptee shall be kept confidential unless the former parents and the adoptee have consented to the release of identity. In the absence of consent to release identity, the inspection shall be limited to the following nonidentifying information:

(1) the health and medical histories of the adoptee’s biological parents;
(2) the health and medical history of the adoptee;
(3) the adoptee’s general family background, including ancestral information, without name references or geographical designations;
(4) physical descriptions; and
(5) the length of time the adoptee was in the care and custody of persons other than the petitioner.

B. After the entry of the decree of adoption, at any time, a former parent may file with the court, with the placing agency or with the department:

(1) a consent or refusal or an amended consent or refusal to be contacted;
(2) a release of the former parent’s identity to the adoptee if the adoptee is eighteen years of age or older or to the adoptive parent if the adoptee is under eighteen years of age; or
(3) information regarding the former parent’s location or changes in background information.

C. Any changes to post-adoption access to records referred to in Subsection B of this section shall be filed with the court, the placing agency and the department.

D. The consent or refusal referred to in Subsection B of this section shall be honored by the court, the placing agency or the department unless for good cause the court orders to the contrary.

E. At any time, an adoptee who is eighteen years of age or older may file with the court, a placing agency or the department:

(2) a consent or refusal regarding
(1) information regarding the adoptee’s location; or
opening of the adoptee’s adoption file to the adoptee’s former parents.

F. If mutual authorizations for release of identifying information by the parties are not available, an adoptee who is eighteen years of age or older, the biological parents if the adoptee is eighteen years of age or older or the adoptive parents if the adoptee is under the age of eighteen years may file a motion with the court to obtain the release of identifying information for good cause shown. When hearing the motion, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests of the adoptee, but shall also give due consideration to the interests of the members of the adoptee’s former and adoptive families. In determining whether good cause exists for the release of identifying information, the court shall consider:

(2) any procedure available for satisfying the petitioner’s request without disclosing the name or identity of another individual, including
(1) the reason the information is sought;
appointment of a confidential intermediary to contact the individual and request specific information;
(3) whether the individual about whom identifying information is sought is alive;
(4) the preference, to the extent known, of the adoptee, the adoptive parents, the former parents and other members of the adoptee’s former and adoptive families and the likely effect of disclosure on those individuals;
(5) the age, maturity and expressed needs of the adoptee;
(6) the report or recommendation of any individual appointed by the court to assess the request for identifying information; and
(7) any other factor relevant to an assessment of whether the benefit to the adoptee of releasing the information sought will be greater than the benefit to any other individual of not releasing the information.

G. An adoptee shall have the right, for the purpose of enrolling in the adoptee’s tribe of origin, to access information kept by the department. Information needed by an adoptee to enroll in his tribe of origin may be requested from the department by the following persons:

(1) the adoptee, after he reaches eighteen years of age;
(2) when the adoptee is a child, his adoptive parent or guardian; or
(3) an adoptee’s descendant or, if the adoptee’s descendant is a child, an adult representative for the descendant.

H. When the department receives a request for information regarding an adoptee’s tribe of origin, the department shall examine its records to determine if the adoptee is of Indian descent. If the department establishes that an adoptee is of Indian descent, the department shall:

(1) provide the requester with the tribal affiliation of the adoptee’s biological parents;
(2) submit to the tribe information necessary to establish tribal enrollment for the adoptee and to protect any rights flowing from the adoptee’s tribal relationship; and
(3) provide notice to the requester of the department’s submission of information to the adoptee’s tribe.

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