There are some cases out there whereby one of the parents is no longer a part of the child’s life. If this is the case then a Step-Parent Adoption may be something you will want to consider.
In order to file for a Step-Parent Adoption the Biological Parent that has the child, this person is called the Custodial Biological Parent, will need to be married. Both the Custodial Biological Parent and his or her new spouse would have to agree/consent to the Step-Parent Adoption. This is a big responsibility because once the Step-Parent Adoption is granted the Step-Parent now has the same rights and responsibilities as the Biological parent.
After you determine that you and your Spouse are interested in a Step-Parent Adoption the major hurdle that you most overcome is termination of the Non-Custodial Biological Parent’s Parental Rights. The Non-Custodial Biological Parent may be willing to consent to the adoption and consent to the termination of his or her parental rights. By consenting to the termination the Non-Custodial Parent will lose all parenting rights and child support responsibilities to the child. On the other hand if the Non-Custodial Parent refuses to consent to the adoption and termination, you may have to have a hearing to terminate his or her parental rights. While the Court will look at all of the circumstances and give paramount consideration to what is in the child’s best interests, they will look specifically at the following factors:
1. Whether the Non-Custodial Parent is unfit.
2. Whether the Non-Custodial Parent has had meaningful contact with the child in the 12 months preceding the filing of the Step-Parent Adoption.
3. Whether the Non-Custodial Parent has paid child support in the 12 months preceding the filing of the Step-Parent Adoption and whether there is a likelihood of future support.
In order to be successful you must only prove one of the above factors by clear and convincing evidence.
Here at the Law Office of Greg Quimby. P.C. we have experience in both contested and un-contested Step-Parent Adoptions. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation so that we can discuss your case and your options. We are here to help.