Stepparent Adoption — What You Need to Know

Children who do not have two biological parents can be considered for adoption. In some cases, like a stepparent adoption, children can be adopted even if they have two biological parents. Adoption is the legal process a person would undergo to make themselves the biological parent of that child.

What is Stepparent Adoption?

The two major components of an adoption are (1) there is a child available for adoption and (2) there is a person or persons eligible to be an adoptive parent. The easiest form of adoption is the stepparent adoption. One of the parents is usually the biological parent, so no home study is required to complete the adoption, which expedites the process. To start the process, you will need to file a Petition for Adoption. In that petition, you will state whether the one biological parent will be consenting to the adoption, or if you are seeking to terminate parental rights, and why you believe the rights should be terminated.

The parental rights termination process can take a long time in some cases and that will be the focus of the court before going on to any other aspect of the case.

What if there are 2 biological parents now?

What is involved to terminate a parent’s parental rights?

  1. Abandoned the child;
  2. Failed to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern, or responsibility as to the child’s welfare;
  3. Desertion of a child for more than 3 months before you file the Petition for Adoption;
  4. Substantial neglect of the child, if continuous or repeated;
  5. Extreme or repeated cruelty to the child and other reasons that concern abuse of the child.

This list is not a full list of how a parent can be deemed unfit, but it gives you an idea of what is required. It is not easy to terminate a parent’s parental rights if a parent is involved with the child, but if you want to adopt and the biological parent is not involved, these are examples of what you would need to prove.

What if the biological parent consents to the adoption?

After the termination of parental rights or a consent, what happens next?

Once the child is served, everyone heads up to the courtroom so that the judge can meet the child. This is perfunctory for the most part, and if the child is over the age of 14, then the child has to consent to the adoption as well. The judge generally engages in some small talk with the child, which is again a pleasant experience for everyone.



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