Adoption is the legal process that permanently gives the adoptive parents legal parental rights over a child. Once an adoption has been completed the child is treated just as if he or she was born to the adoptive parent. Often times, when one biological parent decides to marry someone who is not their child’s biological parent, step parent adoption is considered. In most cases, step parent adoptions are easier than other types of adoption because of the involvement of the biological parent.
When a step parent adopts a child, the parental rights and financial obligations of the other biological parent are terminated. The step parent and his/her spouse assume full responsibility for the child’s welfare once the adoption is approved. In most cases in order for a step parent to be able to adopt a child, the other biological parent must consent to the adoption. If the other parent will not consent then the process is much more difficult and requires a hearing, which is like a trial, and the step parent who is trying to adopt will have to prove that the biological parent’s rights should be terminated. This is in general difficult to do.
I understand that adoption is a happy event that, at times, can be stressful. I provide clients an environment that is supportive of their needs as they work through the adoption process, and I understand that a high degree of sensitivity is critical to the many complex and emotional issues involved with adoption.
I assist clients in a variety of adoption matters, including:
- Stepparent Adoption: A stepparent wishes to become the adoptive parent of their spouse’s biological child(ren).
- Independent Adoptions: Adoptions arranged directly between the birth parent and a specific family.
- Agency Adoption: Adoptions through a state licensed adoption agency or a private agency.
- Single Parent Adoptions: Adoptions involving only one adoptive parent.
- Contested Adoption: A situation where a person who is close to the child-usually the biological parent, or a relative of the child is opposed to an adoption taking place and decides to contest the adoption in court.
- Paternity: Unless a child’s parents are married at the time of birth, a father must prove that he is legally the father.
- Termination of Parental Rights: Legally severing the rights and responsibilities that a parent has over a child. This may be a voluntary act or an involuntary one imposed by the court.