In many remarriage situations, the new spouses bond with each other’s children. It is not uncommon for the new spouse to take on the role of father or mother for the other spouse’s kids. For personal and legal reasons, many families want to proceed with a stepparent adoption.
Although stepparent adoption is a great choice for many families, there are complex legal procedures involved. Anyone considering a stepparent adoption needs to understand the process and get legal help to protect their rights and help them through the process.
What Are the Benefits of a Stepparent Adoption?
The primary reasons people seek out stepparent adoptions is for legal decision-making authority. Only those who are considered legal parents or guardians can make binding decisions for a minor. Decisions involving medical care, schooling choice and other major issues need to come from someone with legal authority. An adopted parent is granted that decision-making authority.
The other most common reason is more personal. As a second-marriage family grows into a new, loving family, it makes to have this reality reflected legally.
There are also other, more individual reasons for people to want a stepparent adoption.
What if the Other Birth Parent Does Not Consent?
The general rule is that the other parent needs to consent and that parent’s rights as a parent need to be terminated.
If the other parent does not consent, there is an option for involuntary termination of that parent’s rights. The courts are reluctant to grant this termination without strong proof of lack of involvement in the child’s life, neglect or other serious issues.
The most important thing you can do is talk with an experienced lawyer who has handled stepparent adoptions, termination of parental rights and other related issues.