With the increase in Divorces over the years has come….an increase in marriages! Remarriages. New families. Step kids, step-parents, step sisters, etc. Many times those new step-parents would like to adopt their spouses child. That is called a step-parent adoption. I described a brief overview of a step parent adoption in a previous article.
Following are some considerations and steps for a step-parent adoption:
Adoption documentation: You will need a Petition to Terminate and for Step Parent Adoption. Depending on the grounds for your adoption, there may be additional documents needed.
- The documents could include an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights. This document is signed by the party terminating their rights and states that they give up all their rights to the child or children in question.
- Another document could be a death certificate. This would be used when a step parent is adopting a child whose biological parent has died.
Another requirement of an adoption is the completion of a home study. This is typically completed by a social worker and involves a visit to the adopting parent’s home to review the suitability for the adoption. The social worker then makes a report to the Court on their recommendation for the adoption.
An ad-litem or amicus attorney will typically be required to complete an adoption. This is an attorney who represents the interests of the child. Essentially, the child has an attorney. They also investigate the adoption and will make a recommendation to the Court. In some cases the court can waive this requirement.
The adopting parent, the step-parent, will be required to complete a criminal background check. Again, this is used to determine the suitability of the person adopting. If there is a criminal background it could affect the adoption.
Once the adoption is complete, the step-parent is the parent of the child just as if the child had been born to them. That means that in the event of a subsequent divorce, that parent could be ordered to pay child support and have other obligations and duties just like any other parent. You cannot “give up” the adoption. In order to end the adoption you would have to terminate the parental rights, just as was done in the original adoption.
A step-parent adoption will typical take around 6 months to a year to complete, depending on the speed of the home study. The home study is typically the longest process of the adoption.
You can expect prices anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to ten thousand and more. It pays to shop around for an attorney to complete your adoption, but remember, do your homework. Check the attorneys reviews. Ask how many step parent adoptions they have completed.
In an upcoming article I will list and discuss the grounds for terminating a parent’s rights, which opens the door to an adoption.