Stepparents play an important role in the lives of their stepchildren.
Some might even wish to make this arrangement legally binding through
adoption. Adopting a stepchild is a far less complex process than most
other forms of adoption, so if you are certain this is the option most
suitable for you and your family, take some time to learn more about the
requirements necessary to fulfill this wish.
Adopting Your Stepchild
To adopt your stepchild, you must obtain the consent of the other birth
parent, unless his or her rights were already terminated. If the other
parent does not have a close relationship with the child and wishes to
relinquish all parental responsibilities, such as child support, it might
be easy to obtain consent. However, if the other parent has a close relationship
with the child, consenting to the adoption would mean he or she would
no longer be able to maintain a relationship with the child, unless you
and your spouse allowed it.
Terminating the Other Parent’s Birth Rights
If the other birth parent does not consent to the adoption, it is still
possible to adopt your stepchild if you terminate his or her rights. The
court will terminate a birth parent’s rights if he or she abandoned
the child or is deemed to be an unfit parent.
Abandonment: If the other birth parent failed to provide financial support or remain
in contact with the child for more than a year, this would be considered
abandonment, resulting in the termination of parental rights.
Unfit: If the other birth parent is deemed unfit, his or her parental rights
can also be terminated. Generally, if a parent is addicted to drugs or
alcohol, failed to visit, is neglectful or abusive, has a mental disturbance,
or is incarcerated, the court will likely determine that he or she is unfit.
Even though stepchild adoptions are not nearly as complex as most other
types of adoption, it is still best to hire an experienced attorney to
handle your case. You do not want to make any unnecessary mistakes or
encounter any delays if you can avoid it. No matter how straightforward
your case might seem, legal help can help ensure you obtain the results
you are seeking.
Get Support from a Skilled Adoption Attorney Today!
If you are interested in
adopting your stepchild, the experienced team at the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
can assist you throughout this complex legal process. Our team has more
than three decades of combined legal experience in
family law and a proven track record of successful results. You do not need to navigate
this situation on your own. Put your trust in a team that is committed
to helping clients take on the most delicate legal matters and providing
the kind of exceptional representation that can make a difference.
Call our law office today at (713) 936-2300 to request an initial consultation with a knowledgeable
and compassionate member of our legal team.