Adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child’s biological or birth parent. This means that once the adoption process is complete, then the adoptive parent will have the legal rights and responsibility to take care of the child. The parent-child relation established will be permanent and it will be just the same as that of the birth family. Stepparent adoption is a form of relation adoption in which the child is adopted by someone who is related to the child by blood or marriage. In most cases, stepparent adoption is easier to complete when compared to other types of adoption because some of the processes may be waived.
Is it possible to adopt your stepchild?
Yes, it is possible to adopt your stepchild. In fact, stepchild adoption is one of the most common forms of adoption in the United States. The main challenge that most stepparents usually face when adopting a child is getting the consent from the other birth parent.
Do I need consent from the birth parent?
Yes, you need the consent of the other birth parent in order to adopt your stepchild. This is usually the most difficult part because most birth parents are usually unwilling to give consent. However, if the right of the other birth parent has been terminated due to neglect, failure to pay child support or unfitness, then a birth parent consent may not be necessary. Most birth parents usually find it hard to give consent because doing so means that you are actually giving up all your parental roles and responsibilities.
What steps should I take when adopting a step child?
- Know the laws regarding stepparent adoption
The first very important step that you need to take if you want to adopt your stepchild is to check out your state adoption laws. It is important to seek out the advice of a qualified legal attorney who has experiences with stepparent adoption. An adoption attorney knows all the laws regarding stepparent adoption and can help you make an informed decision.
- Contact the court that handles adoption
In some states, adoptions are usually handled in surrogacy courts while in other states they are usually handled in juvenile court. Before you take any other step, contact the local courts to know exactly what you need to do.
- Submit the required legal forms
Once you know exactly where the adoption cases are handled, you need to obtain all the required legal forms and fill them correctly, then submit them within the stipulated time frame. Parents are usually advised to seek the services of a qualified adoption attorney to help them in this process.
- Appear at the hearing
A court hearing is very important because it allows the magistrate or judge hearing the case to ask questions to the involved parties. At the end of the hearing, the judge will state the date to finalize the adoption. Your attorney will advise whether or not to attend the hearing. After the adoption is finalized, you can apply for the amended birth certificates to be issued.