What You Need to Know About Stepparent Adoption

If you wish to bring your family closer together by adopting your stepchildren, you will be pleased to know the process is usually less complicated than other forms of adoption. That said, it will still take time and require the assistance of a skilled legal professional. In most cases, the biggest hurdle faced by a stepparent occurs when trying to obtain the consent of the other birth parent. Consent is mandatory in all stepparent adoptions unless the other birth parent’s rights have already been terminated.

Adopting Your Stepchildren

Although the process can be challenging, adopting your stepchildren is a beautiful and fulfilling experience that can further tighten the bond you have with your spouse’s children. Since your spouse is related to the child, some steps will not be required, such as home visits, which are usually part of most other forms of adoption.

If the other birth parent is still involved in the lives of their children, obtaining consent will not be easy. Keep in mind, by adopting your stepchildren, the other birth parent will essentially have to give up all parental rights. He or she would no longer have any visitation rights or be able to make decisions regarding their upbringing. On the other hand, if the other birth parent is not close to the children, he or she might be willing to give up these parental rights since this would put an end to child support obligations.

What Happens if the Other Parent Refuses to Consent?

If the other birth parent refuses to consent to the adoption, you still have some other legal options at your disposal. A parent’s rights can be terminated if:

  • The birth parent abandoned the children
  • The birth parent is deemed unfit

If the birth parent failed to provide financial support for the children or has not communicated with the children for at least a year, this would constitute abandonment. To prove the unfitness of a parent, you will have to show that he or she is neglectful, abusive, struggling with substance abuse, or has a mental disturbance. Additionally, if a birth parent is incarcerated, his or her parental rights can also be terminated.

Schedule a Consultation with a Stepparent Adoption Attorney Today!

If you want to unite your family through adoption, you need to secure skilled legal representation to help you navigate every step of this complex legal process. At Nichols Dixon PLLC, our adoption team can assist you with your stepparent adoption case, so you can expand your role and responsibilities as a parent to your spouse’s children. Although this form of adoption is not as challenging as an unrelated adoption, it can still present some major hurdles, so you will need an experienced team on your side to achieve the results you are seeking. You can rely on our attorneys to provide the attention and knowledgeable advice you need.

Reach out to our law office today at (405) 294-1511 to schedule an initial consultation with a trusted member of our legal team. You do not have to go through this experience on your own.