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Basics of the stepparent adoption process

There is not one single blueprint for a family. There are many different way a family makeup can differ from the next, but none of these devaluate the affection and love a family unit can possess. When two people enter into marriage with children already in the mix, there can be some question of how exactly a stepparent can legally adopt their spouse's children.

While stepparent adoption is not normally as difficult as other types of adoption, there are still steps that need to be taken properly to help ensure a smooth conclusion. While there may be additional steps in other forms of adoption such as home visits, hearings and a long wait, a court may decide to forgo some of those because the parties are related. This, of course, is a good thing. However, there is one element of stepparent adoption that can prove difficult-obtaining the consent of the birth parents.

Unless a particular parent's rights have been revoked due to abandonment, neglect or some other reason, consent from the birth parents is required in stepparent adoption. This can be an arduous process because in giving consent to the stepparent adoption, the birth parent is giving up their own parenting rights in the process. However, if a birth parent refuses to give consent but the party trying to adopt proves the birth parent is neglectful or has committed abandonment (among other things), consent can be waved. It's possible that a court may find that the stepparent adoption is in the best interest of the child or children involved and may grant the adoption without consent from the birth parent.

Stepparent adoption can help bring a family closer together and can also close out a chapter of a negative parental influence. Such situations can be very complex, however, so seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney can help those involved move through the process as efficiently as possible.

Source: findlaw.com, "Stepparent Adoption FAQ's," accessed Oct. 2, 2015

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