Stepparent Adoption allows a stepparent to take the legal place of one of a child’s natural parents. Stepparent adoption is most common when the parent who has raised the child has remarried, and the child’s other birth parent has disappeared or has stopped upholding his or her parental rights. A lot of times the natural parent will agree since they will no longer be obligated for child support.
Consent to adopt by both the children and their birth parent is important. Children over the age of 12 have to consent to the adoption. Parental rights must also have been terminated by the other parent. This can be accomplished by one parent giving up rights, or by the Court upon petition and the Court finding the appropriate standard has been met.
When the parental rights of the birth parent are terminated, the Court must finalize the adoption in front of a judge.
Once the adoption is finalized, the stepparent will then be named as the birth parent on a new birth certificate for the child, and the child’s last name may be changed. That “new” parent will also take on legal and financial responsibility for the child. In the event of a divorce the stepparent will have the same legal rights to child custody and the obligations of support as if he or she was the birth parent. Thus, the decision to pursue an adoption should not be taken lightly by either the natural parent or the stepparent.
The Heskin Martinez Law Group is here to help you through the process of stepparent adoption. Contact us at 407-403-5990 or contact us (below) to schedule your appointment.