June 2, 2017 written by Kate Nelson
We know how incredibly life-changing and rewarding adoption can be for a family. In fact, some of us here at Ashby Law are adoptive parents or have been adopted themselves. That’s why we represent families in all types of adoptions, including uncontested adoptions, second parent adoptions, and step-parent adoptions. The most common kind of adoption that our firm handles is the step-parent adoption, in which the new spouse of a child’s biological parent adopts his or her step-child.
Adoption procedures are not always without complications, and step-parent adoptions are no exception. In addition to meeting various legal requirements, the court must terminate the parental rights of the child’s other parent in order for the step-parent adoption to take place. A child who is over the age of 14 also must give written consent to the adoption. While this can be a fairly easy process if the biological parents and the step-parent can agree that the adoption should take place, it may not be so easy if the child’s other biological parent disagrees and chooses to contest the adoption.
The most important task in a step-parent adoption is to secure the consent of both biological parents. The biological parent who is agreeing to the step-parent adoption will have his or her parental rights terminated, and also will be relieved of all parental obligations and responsibilities for the child. Some biological parents, however, will not freely give consent to a step-parent adoption, for a variety of reasons. While it is possible to forcibly terminate a biological parent’s parental rights, it can be a very difficult process. Each step-parent adoption case is different; as a result, the outcome of one adoption case may be quite different than another.
An adoption begins when the step-parent files an adoption petition with the court in his or her county of residence and pays the required filing fee. In order to finalize the adoption, the parties must complete what is referred to as a post-placement report, as well as mandatory financial, medical, and criminal background forms. A social worker will help ensure that all consents given in the case are voluntary. The post-placement report also will make a recommendation to the court about the proposed step-parent adoption. Once these steps are complete, you can proceed to a final adoption hearing before the court.
If you are seeking a step-parent adoption, our Washington adoption attorneys can guide you through every step of the step-parent adoption process. We are here to answer your questions, both now and in the future, about your step-parent adoption and the legal impact that it will have on your family. At Ashby Law, we have represented the interests of countless families throughout the adoption process. Contact our office today at (509) 572-3700 or by e-mail at email@example.com and set up a time to talk about your case.