Do you want to adopt your stepchildren, but feel daunted by the process?
Adopting a child can be lengthy and complicated, but it’s usually much simpler when you’re a stepparent.
As a stepparent, you’re legally connected to one of the children’s parents. You’re also living with the children already. Because of these circumstances, the courts are more likely to dispense with hurdles such as home visits.
Unfortunately, you might still face some obstacles to complete the process. Here’s what you need to know.
Getting Parental Consent
The biggest hurdle in a stepparent adoption is obtaining the other birth parent’s consent.
Adoption terminates parental rights. A birth parent might be reluctant to give consent, especially if he or she is still a presence in the children’s lives. The flip side is that adoption also terminates parental responsibilities, including the obligation to make child support payments.
Should the birth parent refuse consent, it might still be possible to go ahead with the adoption. In order to do so, however, you’ll need to prove abandonment, lack of fitness or that the parent isn’t the presumed father.
How To Prove Abandonment
To prove abandonment, you’ll need to show the birth parent doesn’t communicate with or financially support the child. Failure to communicate or make child support payments must have happened continuously for a given length of time.
How To Prove Lack Of Fitness
The court decides whether a birth parent is unfit at a fitness hearing.
You’ll need to prove the birth parent is abusive, doesn’t visit, has mental problems, has a drug or alcohol addiction or is in prison.
Most states have laws that set out who is presumed to be a child’s father.
The court can terminate parental rights if you can prove the person refusing consent doesn’t meet your state’s legal definition of a presumed father. That way, you’ll no longer need his consent to go ahead with the adoption.
Do you need help with the stepparent adoption process? Contact Bosserman Law at 662-890-9958 to schedule a consultation.