What A Stepparent Must Do To Adopt A Stepchild

Law Blog

If the woman you just married had a child when you met her and the child's father was not in the picture, you may wonder how hard it will be to adopt this child and became his or her adoptive father. When step parents decide to adopt children in these situations, there can be several challenges they encounter, but the biggest challenge can involve the rights of the biological father. Here are several important things to understand as you prepare to adopt your wife's child.

It Will Be Easier If The Father Signed Off Rights To The Child

The first thing you should understand is that adopting a stepchild will always be easiest if the biological father has already relinquished rights to this child; however, you should also know that this is not the typical situation. There are times when a biological father does not even know about a child, which means he could not have signed off rights to the child. There are also times when biological fathers are stubborn and resistant with doing this, even if they are not involved in the child's life whatsoever.

It Will Depend On If The Father Is Considered A Presumed Father Versus A Putative Father

If the biological father has not yet signed off on his rights to the child, you should evaluate whether he would be considered a presumed father or a putative father. The reason for this is that it will be easier to adopt a child if the father is a putative father rather than a presumed father.

For a biological father to be considered a presumed father, several conditions must typically apply. For one, the father will be considered a presumed father if he was married to the mother of the child during the pregnancy. A man is also considered a presumed father if he is paying child support or if he is listed as the father on the child's birth certificate. If the father of this child is the presumed father, you will have to convince him to sign off rights to the child if you want to proceed with the adoption.

A father that is labeled a putative father is one that has not established that he is the father of the child. His name is not on the birth certificate, and he was not married to the mother of the child. In some cases, he may not even know he fathered a child. If this is the case, it may take proving paternity before you can proceed with the adoption.

Most states require a variety of different steps to occur before an adoption can happen. This is done as a way to protect the rights of fathers, and your lawyer will help you with these steps.

You Will Need To Go Through The Legal Adoption Process

Finally, no matter what the situation as, you will need to go through the entire legal process required for adoption. This process typically begins with a petition to the court for the adoption. It's also important to understand that the child has the right to choose whether this occurs or not if he or she is over the age of 12.

During the adoption process, the court may require a home study, which is designed to ensure that your home will be a good and safe place for the child, and there may be a variety of other steps you must complete before the adoption can go through.

Adopting your stepchild might be the best thing you could do for your family and for this child. If you are interested in doing this and would like to learn more about it, check out sites like http://www.adoptionattorneyyork.com and talk to a lawyer that specializes in adoption law.


18 May 2017