We enjoy handling step-parent adoptions; typically the family unit has informally existed for years and the step-parent adoption allows these families to legally formalize their family unit and define their legal rights and obligations. A step-parent adoption is the legal process which allows a step-parent to become the legal parent of his or her spouse’s child. The manner in which the step-parent adoption will proceed will be primarily determined by the relationship the child has with the other parent.
For example, if the other parent agrees that the child may be adopted by their step-parent, the step-parent adoption process is simplified. However, even if the other parent objects to the step-parent adoption, the step-parent adoption may still proceed on a litigated basis. This means that a judge will decide whether to grant or deny the step-parent adoption. In these contested step-parent adoptions, the success of the step-parent adoption will depend on a legal finding of abuse, neglect or abandonment by the other parent.
Among other relevant factors, a parent’s failure to visit with the child and/or lack of payment of child support is relevant. Additionally, if the whereabouts of the other parent are unknown, the step-parent adoption may proceed and will be granted as long as specific statutory requirements are met.
If you are considering adopting your step-child, schedule a consultation so that we may discuss the facts of your case and decide how best to proceed.