You may need a step parent adoption attorney when you have a precious child from another relationship in order to file suit. Mom or Dad has been out of your child’s life for years. Now, you have married a good one. Someone who loves and cares for you child as their own. Your spouse has bonded with your child to the point that he or she considers your child their own. It is time to make it official. How is this done?
A step-parent adoption is an action where one parent is the natural parent and the prospective adopting parent is married to the natural parent (a step parent). At the end of the adoption process, the step parent is afforded all of the rights and all of the responsibilities of a natural parent. With the help of a step parent adoption attorney, legally, that step parent becomes the parent of the child. If a divorce later occurs, the adoptive parent and the natural parent are treated equally. The law does not recognize any difference between the natural parent and the step parent. Custody can be awarded to either parent, and both parents will be obligated to pay child support. In order for the step-parent to adopt the child, the other parent’s parental rights must be terminated.
The step-parent actually replaces the role of one of the child’s natural parents. If the natural parent is deceased, the step parent must simply produce a death certificate. If the natural parent is alive, however, that parent’s rights must be terminated before the court will allow the step parent to adopt the child. It is not easy to terminate a parent’s rights. In order to do so, the petitioning parents must prove the natural parent should have his or her rights terminated because he or she is either unfit or has abandoned the child.
Why you need a step parent adoption attorney:
The adoption process essentially requires the filing of two lawsuits, one for termination of parental rights, and a second one for the adoption of the child. Both lawsuits are heard together in court. You will need a good step parent adoption attorney representing you. In the Petition to adopt, the spouse of the adopting step parent must consent to the adoption. If the adoptive child is twelve years or older, that child must consent to the adoption, as well.
Once the lawsuit is filed, the child’s relatives and natural parent whose rights may be terminated have a chance to object. If they do so, the court will have a trial. Regardless of whether an objection is filed, the court will also order a home study to determine the child’s best interest. This will include a background check of the natural and adopting parents. Generally speaking, the process takes approximately six to nine months.