Stepparent adoption applies when a new spouse of the birth parent wishes to adopt the child. It is one of the most common forms of adoption in the U.S. It is important to get the consent of both the parents, custodial and non-custodial, before moving on. Yet in some cases, consent may not be required if the parental rights of the birth parent are terminated. This may be achieved by proving that the parent has either abandoned the child, is unfit or is not the biological parent. Every step should be taken with the best interests of the child in mind.
By giving consent, the birth parent agrees to the termination of all legal parental responsibilities, including child support. Difficulty in acquiring consent varies for each case. In some cases, it may become easier to get consent if the birth parent is not involved in the child's life. On the other hand, certain cases might get complicated if the birth parent refuses to give consent.
Each state has its own laws on the process of stepparent adoption. The first step of the process is contacting the court office that handles stepparent adoption in your area. After that, you may ask for relevant documents needed for the process. All mandatory documents need to be gathered before the court hearing.
As a stepparent, you should be aware of your rights. If you are a stepparent and you wish to adopt the child of your spouse, you may want to consider getting professional legal help. A competent attorney might help you consider all your options.