Although the process of adopting a stepchild is not as complex as most other adoption processes, it is not without its own unique obstacles. If you wish to adopt your spouse’s biological child, take some time to learn about the process and what it entails.
How to Adopt Your Stepchild
After you file an adoption request form, a brief investigation will be conducted. The investigation will include a series of interviews with a social services representative, which are generally straightforward and designed to assess if the adoption serves the best interests of the child. During the investigation process, the child will also be interviewed.
The complications you can potentially encounter will arise if the child’s other biological parent is still living and the parental rights have not yet been terminated. When you terminate a parent’s rights, it eliminates all support obligations as well as any rights that parent may have to visitation. If the child’s other biological parent does not have a relationship with the child, it may not be difficult to obtain consent to terminate parental rights. However, when the child’s other biological parent refuses to consent, it will create some legal challenges.
There are some situations in which the court may terminate the rights of a parent:
- Unfitness: The other parent is incarcerated or has a history of child abuse, or substance abuse.
- Abandonment: The other parent has not communicated with or supported the child for at least one year.
- Issues with paternity: If the other parent is a male, you may terminate his rights if he is not the biological parent of the child.
If you can successfully terminate the rights of the child’s other parent, you will attend a final hearing before a judge where the adoptive parent will formally agree to adopt the child.
Discuss the Details of Your Stepchild Adoption Case with an Experienced Attorney Today!
If you are planning to adopt your stepchild, you can make this process go a lot more smoothly with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. At Barach Law Group LLC, our knowledgeable team will guide you through every step of the process and help you achieve your desired goals. Backed by more than two decades of experience, you can rest assured your case will be in good hands when you choose to work with us.