If you wish to bring your family closer together by adopting your stepchildren, this is a big step and a great way to strengthen the bond you already have. However, you will have to complete some complex legal steps to make it happen. You should also hire an experienced adoption attorney to guide you through it and ensure the process goes smoothly. Although stepparent adoption is less complicated than other forms of adoption, it can still present some challenges.
About the Stepparent Adoption Process
In a stepparent adoption, you will need the consent of the child’s other birth parent. In permitting you to adopt the child, the other birth parent will essentially lose his or her parental rights, so this will not be an easy step if the parent has a close relationship with the child. However, if the other birth parent’s rights were already terminated, it will not be necessary to obtain his or her consent.
If the other birth parent does not have a close relationship with the child, it might be in his or her best interest to give up parental rights since this will relieve him or her of any obligation to pay child support.
Can I Still Adopt My Stepchild if Consent is Denied?
You can still potentially adopt your stepchild even if the other birth parent does not consent to the adoption. If the child’s other birth parent is deemed unfit by the court because he or she is abusive, struggles with a substance abuse problem, is mentally disturbed, neglectful, or currently incarcerated, his or her parental rights would likely be terminated, allowing you to adopt your stepchild.
The other birth parent’s parental rights can also be terminated if he or she abandoned the child. Abandonment does not necessarily mean the parent disappeared from the child’s life. It can also mean that the parent repeatedly failed to provide child support.
Additionally, if you can prove that the presumed father is not the child’s birth father, you might not need to obtain his consent.
As soon as you adopt your spouse’s child, the other birth parent will lose all parental rights to the child, including visitation rights and the right to partake in decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. It would be up to you and your spouse if you wanted to permit his or her continued involvement in the child’s life.
Contact a Stepparent Adoption Lawyer Today!
Do you want to adopt your stepchild? Although the process is less difficult than most other forms, you will still need knowledgeable legal assistance on your side. At Kallen Law Firm, LLC, our team is backed by more than 45 years of combined legal experience, which we will use to your advantage. We understand how important this is for you and what it will mean for your family, which is why you can rely on us to work diligently on your behalf to obtain the results your family needs.
Call our law office today at (314) 441-7793 to schedule a free case review with a member of our team and find out more about how we can help you.