What is Step-Parent Adoption?
A stepparent adoption creates a legal parent-child relationship between the adopting parent and the stepchild. It gives both you and the stepchild many legal rights and responsibilities, some of which continue into the child’s adulthood. The changes that come with these rights are generally permanent.
Will My Rights Be Different as an Adopting Step-parent?
The adoption laws treat you as if your stepchild were your natural child. You become legally responsible for the care, education and support of the child until they are an adult (or even after, in some particular situations, i.e. when the child may become unable to care for him or herself), and you have the right to exercise authority over the child. The child also will have the right to inherit from you if you die without a will or living trust.
What if the biological parent objects?
We handle both uncontested and contested step-parent adoptions.
Typically, at the beginning of a case like this, a petition to terminate parental rights will be required to be filed simultaneously with the step-parent adoption petition. This means that the Court will determine if parental rights should stay in place long before ever getting to the question of whether you are fit to adopt as a step-parent.
The Court’s also will appoint an investigator to conduct background checks, home assessments and interviews of all the parties involved, biological parents, step-parent and even the child.