The adoption of a child by a stepparent is a common form of adoption, one that can be simple and straightforward. This is a very exciting and rewarding situation for some family members; at the same time, the parent who is being asked to terminate parental rights may experience stress and feelings of regret. Complications occur when the parent does not give consent to the adoption.
Reasons Stepparents Adopt
Blended families are more common today than ever before. If you are raising a stepchild and the other biological parent is not in the picture, you may want to consider adoption. While it is not necessary for a stepparent to adopt, it may just be the right choice for your family. A stepparent adoption can be routine. But it can seem complex and frustrating if the process is not followed properly.
Someone thinking about a stepparent adoption usually has many questions and concerns about the process and possible consequences.
Just a few of those questions and concerns may include:
These questions and more are briefly addressed below. But to have your specific concerns answered, the best thing to do is meet with an experienced and qualified family law attorney. An adopted child is your child. They are no longer a stepchild and you are no longer a stepparent.
It is worth noting that an adopted stepchild receives the same inheritance and other legal rights as do biological children in the family. This includes medical insurance coverage rights, as well.
The Adoption Process
For a stepparent to adopt a child in Minnesota, the child must be available for adoption. This means that the noncustodial biological parent either consents to the adoption and voluntarily terminates parental rights, or the parental rights are terminated by a court order.
An outline of the stepparent process includes such steps as the following:
Getting the consent of the biological parent can be challenging. Their whereabouts may be unknown, or they may refuse to consent. In either case, the stepparent can petition the court to have the noncustodial parent’s parental rights be terminated, under certain circumstances.
A child 14 years old or older must also consent to the adoption. Once that is done and the termination by the noncustodial parent is accomplished, the stepparent can petition the court for adoption.
Children who are members of an American Indian tribe or are eligible for tribal membership are covered by a different set of rules regarding termination.
After the stepparent petitions the court for adoption, the court may order an evaluation of the home and living conditions as well as background checks.
Many factors are taken into consideration during the stepparent adoption process. Trust the experienced family law attorneys of Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm to guide you through the process. Contact us at (763) 406-7000 for a free initial consultation about your unique circumstances.