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What is involved in stepparent adoption?

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Quick Answer

The first step for a stepparent who wants to adopt his stepchild is to become familiar with relevant state adoption laws; alternatively, he can hire a qualified adoption attorney, according to Parents. It is necessary to obtain consent from the noncustodial or absent parent, who revokes his parental rights and responsibilities by agreeing to the adoption. If the noncustodial parent does not consent, this may prevent the adoption from occurring.

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Full Answer

The next step in adopting a stepchild is determining which local court handles adoption and contacting it, explains Parents. In some jurisdictions, juvenile court handles adoptions, while in others Family Court or Surrogacy Court does. The court clerk may provide more information.

After contacting the local court, a stepparent needs to obtain the necessary legal forms, states Parents. If the stepparent hired an adoption lawyer, the lawyer acquires the necessary paperwork. Otherwise, the stepparent may purchase the paperwork from designated publishing companies. The stepparent or lawyer then submits the paperwork to the court.

After receiving the paperwork, the court sets a hearing date, where a judge or magistrate questions the involved parties and sets a finalization date for the adoption, informs Parents. After finalization, the court issues an adoption certificate.

If the noncustodial parent refuses to consent to the adoption, the court may terminate his rights under special circumstances, according to FindLaw. Reasons a court may terminate rights include abandonment by the noncustodial parent or the noncustodial parent is unfit to take care of the child.

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