Friday, March 20, 2015

Step-Parent Adoption

                The adoption of a child is a life-changing event that can lead to rewarding relationships for all parties involved.  Unlike a typical adoption, where the child’s legal relation to both biological parents is terminated, a step-parent adoption keeps parental bonds in tact with the married biological parent while creating a new legal parent-child relationship with the step-parent.  In a step-parent adoption, all legal and financial ties are terminated between the child and the biological parent who is giving up parental rights.

                The step-parent who is adopting becomes the child’s legal parent, meaning the adoptive parent has a legal duty to provide for the child, the child will inherit from the adoptive parent, and the adoptive parent would be obligated for child support if there were ever a separation of the adoptive and biological parents.  It is important to realize that for most legal purposes, an adoptive parent is held to the same standards as a biological parent. 

                A step-parent seeking to adopt a child should hire a qualified attorney.  Though highly rewarding, the adoption process is complex and an attorney can help prevent any unnecessary delays.  Although there are exceptions, the consent of both biological parents is typically required to move forward with the adoption.   Once the consent is received, a Petition for Adoption will be filed.  An attorney will help with the documents that must be submitted before the adoption is legal, specifically the putative father registry documentation and a medical history.  A home study of the adoptive home will also be conducted and a report filed with the court.

                After this process is complete, the court will hold a formal adoption hearing.  If all goes well, the judge will decide it is in the child’s best interest to be adopted by the step-parent.  Once the adoption decree is entered, the child will be issued a new birth certificate, showing the adoptive step-parent, and may also petition for a name change. 

                If you have a question about protective orders, or any family or criminal law case, contact Attorney Naun Antonio Benitez at (317) 456-7942 or through E-Mail.  

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