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.
- Adult Adoption: An adult adopts another adult.