Step parent adoption is a common form of adoption. Needless to say, the entire adoption procedure for step parents is usually easier than other types of adoption. For example you may not be required to have a home study completed nor be represented by a lawyer, but you might need to have a criminal background check.
Consent of Biological Parent
Once you have agreed to become the step parent of your new spouses child you become responsible for that child. First though, both your spouse and the other parent of the child must give their consent for you to adopt the child. Occasionally, it can be difficult to get the other parents consent. If your former spouse refuses to consent, the adoption will not be allowed unless their parental rights are terminated for some other reason like abandonment or unfitness. But once you do get it, the biological parent who is no longer living with the child, then has no rights or responsibilities for the child. They will no longer have the right to visit with the child nor will they be able to make decisions regarding issues such as medical treatment or education. In addition, they will no longer be responsible for child support. Also, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles of the noncustodial parent are no longer legally related to the child.
Step Parent Adoption Costs With an Attorney
Lawyers fees will cost up to $4000 plus an additional $200 for court fees. They will do a home visit, and they will need 3 or 4 letters of recommendation about the parent who is adopting the child, from friends, co-workers, etc. The lawyer will provide all of the documents necessary for you and the noncustodial spouse to complete. Following this comes the court date with the judge, when the lawyer files everything that is needed.
Step Parent Adoption Costs Without an Attorney
If the noncustodial parent is in agreement with it, it can make things much cheaper. Here are the documents that you will need to send to them:
First you will need to fill out a Final and Irrevocable Consent to Adoption - signed and notarized. Next a Consent to Terminate Parental Rights (Release of child by Parent) will need to be filled out, signed and notarized. You will then need to fill out a Petition and Affidavit to Terminate Parental Rights of Noncustodial Parent…signed and notarized. After this is complete you and your new spouse will need to fill out an Adoption Affidavit to Establish Financial Ability, signed and notarized. Once each of these documents have been accurately completed you can take them to the court house and file your Petition for Adoption. Filing it will cost a small fee of approximately $200.00. Don’t forget to take all of your paperwork, for example, the childs birth certificate, plus your marriage certificate. When everything is approved and filed, you'll get a court date. This whole process may be cheaper, but you might not be sure where to go to get all of these document. You could contact Child Welfare Services for more detailed info.
How Long Does Step Parent Adoption Take?
This will also vary according to state. For example, in some states you must have been married to the child’s parent for a year or more before you will be aloud to become a step parent. However, laws will vary from state to state, so it would be best to find out the laws in your State or Province first. Check with the Child Welfare website to get specifics regarding state laws on this matter.
Connie McKenzie is a part-time work at home mom. She has two beautiful adopted girls and a wonderful husband. My site offers foster care and adoption information, as well as lots of useful resources for those wishing to adopt a child. Child Adoption Matters because as her daughter says, "Child adoption does matter, mommy!