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CAN I ADOPT MY STEP-CHILD?

CAN I ADOPT MY STEP-CHILD?

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The short answer is yes, you can adopt your step-child if you meet certain criteria. Each case varies, but the following is a guideline as to how you may expect the process to go:

  1. The stepparent wishing to adopt and the biological parent must have been married for six months or longer.
  2. In order for the adoption to occur, the noncustodial parent (or other biological parent) must consent to their parental rights being terminated.
  3. If the noncustodial parent cannot be found with a Notice of Publication, then the stepparent adoption is typically granted.
  4. If the noncustodial parent refuses to consent, the Court may require a hearing to Terminate Parental Rights. This a separate proceeding, outside of the adoption, that takes numerous factors into account when deciding on parental rights.
  5. Ultimately, if the noncustodial parent’s rights are not terminated, the adoption will not happen.
  6. If the child is over the age of twelve, they must consent to the adoption in writing.

Please note that any ongoing child support obligation of the noncustodial parent will end when the stepparent adoption occurs.

Call Rech Law, P.C. today schedule a consultation to understand your rights as a step-parent!

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