Step Parent Adoption
Who Do You Represent In Stepparent Adoption Cases?
Generally, I represent the parents and stepparents in stepparent adoption cases. The majority of cases we handle entail parents looking to sever the other parents’ rights. Most of our cases are going to be representing the parent and spouse who want to do the severing.
What Are Some Of The Benefits To Adopting My Spouse’s Child?
The benefits of stepparent adoption include permanency. The child knows this person is their parent who will continue to care for them. This parent now has the same legal responsibilities as the natural parent. It can make a very big difference to a child’s mental health and emotional well-being to know that there are two loving people raising them, as opposed to one. Legal responsibilities include emergency decisions. Once you sever a biological parent’s rights in an adoption, that biological parent cannot come around later and interfere.
Once I Adopt My Step Child, What Are My Legal Parental Duties For My Step Child?
There is no difference between the rights and responsibilities of an adoptive parent and a birth parent.
Will You Need Consent From A Birth Parent To Adopt A Step Child?
We need either consent or to go through a proceeding to terminate the birth parent’s rights, before you can adopt a step-child.
What Happens In The Proceeding To Terminate Parental Rights? When Is It Necessary?
We have to file a petition in order to sever a biological parent’s rights. We have to show the court grounds, such as the fact that they have abandoned the child or that the person is a criminal in a manner that would prevent them from being able to safely parent a child. For example, if they have child abuse or sexual assaults on their record. We also have to show the court that this plan is what is best for the child.
Does A Stepparent Adoption Automatically Terminate A Biological Parent’s Rights?
There are two ways to do an adoption. One is a direct adoption and that is what we can do if the other parent is willing to sign away their rights. We can skip the severance portion and go straight to the adoption portion. Otherwise, we do have to do a separate severance action first.
Can We Change The Child’s Name During The Adoption Process?
You can change the child’s name and also request that the birth certificate be updated during the adoption process.
What Is The Process To Go Through A Stepparent Adoption?
If a biological father is not listed on the birth certificate, then we have to do what we call a John Doe, which means letting the court know who any possible fathers are. We have to make professional attempts to locate them. Once we have the identity or possible identities, we have to give notice to all of those people through publication in the newspaper. Severing someone’s rights is permanent and very severe, so the court makes sure we do everything that we can to try to get that person actual notice.
How Long Is The Time Requirement To Search For A Parent?
There is no time requirement when searching for a parent. Instead, there are steps to follow. We must check DMV records and check for registered addresses, registered phone numbers, bills, and call old phone numbers that we find. We will look for accounts and collections. Our professionals have access to national databases where they can find people in five minutes that we would never locate. That is one of the biggest troubles people have when they try to do an adoption on their own and don’t hire an attorney; they don’t understand that we have to still find that biological parent because it is the law. Even if the person disappeared and you haven’t heard from in five years, we have to search.
What Are The Top Misconceptions That People Have About Stepparent Adoptions?
The main misconception is people thinking they don’t have to notify the other parent or discuss the adoption with the child. The child is required to be at the adoption hearing. Many times, the child is under the impression that the stepparent is their biological parent, so that can be very confusing for them. It is absolutely not possible to do an adoption without the child knowing. If the child is twelve or older, they have to actually give their consent in writing.
Are There Any Reasons That A Stepparent May Not Be Able To Complete The Adoption?
A stepparent cannot adopt without any legal grounds to sever the biological parent’s rights. If the father can give a good reason for why he hasn’t had contact with the child, his rights will remain intact.
For more information on Stepparent Adoption Cases In AZ, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 666-5771 today.
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