When two parents go through a divorce and one of those parents later chooses to remarry, the child’s new stepparent often wants to legally adopt the child. This can be a joyous occasion, in which a new family finally becomes whole in the eyes of the law. However, it can also be a difficult area to navigate legally, depending on the feelings of the child’s other biological parent.
While a stepparent is legally allowed to adopt their spouse’s birth child, that does not mean all existing child custody rights go out the window. The child’s birth parent will still retain any existing custody rights, whether they are the primary custodial parent or not. In essence, adopting a stepchild under these circumstances means that the child will legally have three parents under the law.
It is also important for the stepparent to be aware that in most cases, they must obtain the consent of the child’s other birth parent before adoption proceedings can begin. It is not uncommon for the other birth parent to feel threatened by this request, and resist the stepparent’s wishes to take a more active role in their child’s life. In these instances, the stepparent will need to find a Certified Mediator to assist them in legally making their case for adoption.
However, in rare cases, it may be possible to adopt a stepchild without the biological parent’s consent. In such instances, the biological parent is either unable or has shown they are unwilling to take legal responsibility of their child and voided their parental rights under the law.
A stepparent does not need to obtain consent for adoption from the birth parent if:
- The birth parent has passed away
- The birth parent is unfit for parental duties due to physical or mental health issues
- The birth parent has abandoned their child
- The birth parent has consistently failed to pay child support
- The birth parent has disregarded visitation rights or otherwise neglected the needs of their child
Call Myers Family Law
While it is not easy for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild, it is a lot more difficult without a skilled family law attorney on your side. Thankfully, our Granite Bay family lawyers have 25 years of experience in a full range of family law matters. When you hire a Certified Mediator from Myers Family Law, we promise to do everything in our power to make the adoption process as fast and as painless as possible. Even if you believe the child’s biological parent has voided their rights, you will still want to hire a lawyer, as biological parents often object to stepparent adoption even when they seem to be out of the picture.
To schedule a low-cost, 30-minute consultation with The Myers Law Firm today, call (916) 634-0067 now or contact us online.