Growing a family is a wonderful, fulfilling experience. If you are a stepparent to your spouse’s children, you might be considering the idea of expanding your role and taking on more responsibilities by adopting them as your own. The short answer to this query is, yes, it is possible to adopt your spouse’s children. However, it can be complicated in some cases, particularly if the other parent is still involved in the lives of your spouse’s children.
Is it Difficult to Adopt a Spouse’s Children?
Although adopting your spouse’s stepchildren is not as difficult as most other types of adoption, it has its own unique hurdles you will need to overcome. Even though you have the consent of one parent (your spouse), you must obtain the consent of the other birth parent. In cases where the other birth parent does not have a relationship with his or her children, this might not present any difficulties. However, if the other birth parent is involved in the lives of his or her children, obtaining consent might not be possible. Keep in mind that, once a birth parent gives up his or her parental rights, contact can effectively be cut off. It would also mean that, if the other birth parent had any child support obligations, they would be terminated immediately.
If the Other Parent Refuses to Consent, Can I Seek to Terminate Their Rights?
In some cases, even if the other birth parent refuses to consent to the adoption, it is possible to ask the court to terminate his or her parental rights. The termination of one’s parental rights can be granted for a few reasons, including abandonment, unfitness, or if the presumed birth father is not the child’s father.
Abandonment does not necessarily mean the other parent simply fell out of contact with the children. A parent can also abandon his or her children by failing to provide financial support for a certain length of time.
To prove the unfitness of a birth parent, the court would require a hearing during which it must be demonstrated that the parent was either neglectful, suffers from a substance abuse problem, abusive, or incarcerated, all of which can be grounds for the termination of parental rights.
Lastly, if it can be proven that the other parent is not legally the father, it is possible for his parental rights to be terminated.
Schedule a Case Review with a Stepparent Adoption Attorney Today!
If you want to expand your role as a parent to your spouse’s children and wish to adopt them as your own, you need a skilled legal advocate on your side to help you navigate this complex process to ensure you are able to strengthen the bond of your family. At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff, our stepparent adoption team will guide you through each step and answer any questions you might have along the way to ensure you feel confident in the direction your case is going. We understand the sensitive nature of this matter and want to make sure we ease any anxieties you might have.
Contact our law office today at (805) 633-4999 to schedule a free initial case review with our compassionate stepparent adoption attorneys to discuss the details of your case and learn more about what we can do for you.