What Are the Steps to Adopt a Stepchild?

If you are a stepparent looking to formally adopt your spouse’s child to become a lawful parent and guardian of that child, you will need to go through the complicated and formal process of adopting your stepchild.

At the Law Offices of Rovner, Allen, Rovner, Zimmerman & Nash, we not only work with those in need of a personal injury lawyer or accident lawyer in Bucks County, but we also have attorneys on staff that are experienced and familiar with the stepparent adoption system who can help you along your way to becoming a legally recognized family.

Here are three of the first steps that you’ll need to go through when officially adopting a stepchild.

  • Get permission from both legal parents. This is usually the most difficult step when it comes to adopting a stepchild. Getting permission from your partner is usually not the issue, but you’ll need to get consent from the other biological parent as well. However, if the other parent is not available or will not consent to give up their parental rights, you may still have the option to file with the courts to terminate parental rights.
  • Terminate parental rights. Parental rights can be terminated in two cases. Both parents can consent to grant parental rights to the stepparent and terminating the rights of one of the biological parents. Or a court can terminate parental rights of one parent when it is found that it is in the best interest of the child. In most cases, parental rights will only be court terminated in the cases of abuse, failure to pay child support, alcoholism, drug addiction or other extreme circumstances surrounding a parent.
  • Petition the court. Even when you have the other parent’s consent, a prospective stepparent will still need to petition the court to grant custody of the child to the stepparent. If you have the consent of a parent, you can start the adoption process by filing an affidavit of consent along with the petition to terminate parental rights.

After you’ve begun the process of stepparent adoption, you’ll have a number of hearings so the court can determine whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child. A family lawyer can help streamline this process and increase the chances that your adoption will be approved and finalized in a timely manner.

If you are in need of a family lawyer to help with your adoption or a Bucks County injury lawyer, we encourage you to contact our legal team at the Law Offices of Rovner, Allen, Rovner, Zimmerman & Nash today by calling 215-259-5958 for a free consultation.