Many stepparents provide for their stepchildren as if they were their own; they love them unconditionally, cover their financial needs, attend their sports games, and are a major influence in their lives. The bond may be so close that the stepparent and stepchild wish to formalize it through a stepchild adoption. The benefits of stepchild adoption include:
The first criterion is determining if the stepparent is eligible to adopt the child. Generally, as long as the stepparent is legally married to the child’s biological parent, can financially support the child, and does not have any major health problems that prevent them from caring for themselves and the child, the stepparent is eligible.
Next, the stepparent must obtain consent from both biological parents. This is the part that can be the most difficult. The biological parent who the stepparent will be replacing will need to give up all parental rights to the child. This includes visitation rights, timesharing rights, and decision-making authority. The most common reason why a biological parent may choose to terminate their own parental rights and give consent for the adoption is that they will no longer be required to pay child support to the other parent.
There are a few instances in which the stepparent does not need to obtain the biological parent’s consent. These include:
If the child is age 12 or older, they need to provide consent to be adopted as well.
After obtaining consent or determining that consent is not necessary, the stepparent can file a petition to adopt the child. The petition includes information about the child, if the child’s name will be changed to the stepparent’s after the adoption, how long the child has lived with the stepparent, and why the stepparent wants to adopt them.
A judge will hear the case, which is a very short proceeding, and then grant a judgement that gives the stepparent full parental rights to the child. After the proceeding, the stepparent (who is now the parent) will file for a new birth certificate listing him/herself as the child’s parent.
If you are considering a stepchild adoption, Troy Legal can guide you through the process. Often, the process can go smoothly and quickly; however, if you anticipate that the biological parent will not readily consent to the adoption, you may benefit from our experienced legal counsel. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.
Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., specializes in Marital and Family Law, providing reputable legal services for prenuptial and co-habitation agreements, paternity cases, adoption matters, alimony and child support, time sharing and parenting plans, drafting of qualified domestic relations orders (qdros), mediation services, equitable distributions, collaborative law, post-judgement modification and enforcement, domestic violence cases, and dissolution of marriage or divorce. Troy Legal, P.A. is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.
Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.