Adoption is a major family decision that should never be taken lightly. Stepparent adoption is a form of relative adoption where the spouse of the biological parent goes through the legal process and becomes the birth child’s parent, not just a legal guardian. The noncustodial parent would then have their parenting rights terminated and the stepchild would have the same rights and standing as biologically shared children in the family.
Because it is permanent, adopting a stepchild has several legal and emotional ramifications that you and your spouse must consider before undertaking the process. Legally, stepparent adoption is more streamlined and easier to undergo than other forms of adoption, such as open, public, or international adoption; it is also the most common form of adoption in the United States.
There are many things you and your family must consider before adopting a stepchild. First, the other biological parent must give up their parental rights by signing an Adoption Surrender in front of a notary and two witnesses, therefore consenting to the adoption. Losing parental rights relinquishes that parent’s power to make any decisions for that child. They also give up their visitation rights and communication to the child. Having the other biological parent to consent may be the biggest hurdle to overcome. You may have to bring the case to court and convince a judge why the other parent is unfit and why their rights should be terminated.
The adoption of a stepchild will change your family dynamic drastically. It is a lifetime commitment that cannot be reversed; therefore, consider if there are any problems, especially if there are long term questions in the marriage. The stepchild will also receive the same rights as shared biological children, including inheritances, medical releases and guardianship rights.
You may feel that you are already a child’s parent by supporting them financially and emotionally, but without the legal process of adoption, you are still a stepparent. The action of adopting your step child and giving them the same legal status as a biological child strengthens a family’s bond and commitment to each other.
Adopting your stepchild is a major decision for you and your family and it should only be done with complete understanding and consent. If you and your spouse feel that stepchild adoption is right for you, do not hesitate to call the Ocean Township adoption lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. right away. Our experienced lawyers can help you through the adoption process. Call us today at 732-493-9400 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including clients in Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Ocean Township, Fair Haven, Eatontown, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Shrewsbury, Middletown Township, Wall Township, Seagirt, and Spring Lake.