What is Step-Parent Adoption and how Does it Work?

Step parent adoption is a procedure whereby a step parent is able to assume the rights and responsibilities of a natural parent.  At the end of the process, that step parent becomes the legal parent of the child, and in the case of a divorce is treated the same way as any other parent would be.  Custody and child support work in the same way as it would a natural parent.

The first step of the process is termination of parental rights of the natural parent.  In cases where the natural parent has died, a death certificate will suffice.  Otherwise, the parent’s rights must be terminated before the court will approve the adoption.  For parental rights are terminated, a high standard must be met proving that the natural parent is either an unfit parent or has abandoned the child.

Both the suit for termination of parental rights and for adoption of the child are argued together in the same hearing in court. For the adoption of the child to be approved, the spouse of the step-parent must consent, and, if the child is 12 years or older, the child also must consent.

Both the natural parent and the child‘s relatives are given the opportunity to object to the termination of parental rights and step-parent adoption, and, if they do object, then a trial must be had to resolve the issue.  Even if no objection is made, the court will do a home study to decide if it is in the child‘s best interest, including a background check for both the natural and adopting parents.  This is a complex process, often lasting six months ore more.  Call Sagaria Law today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more.