What Is the Process of Adoption for a Stepparent?


Quick Answer

While the adoption process for a stepparent varies somewhat depending on the area, the standard process involves filing the necessary forms with the court, obtaining the birth parent's consent, interviewing with an investigator and going to an adoption hearing. The stepparent must be married to or in a domestic partnership with the child's birth parent.

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Full Answer

Court forms are typically available at a courthouse or on the court's website. After filling out the forms, the stepparent pays a fee to file them with the court.

The other birth parent's consent is almost always necessary, as long as that parent still has parental rights. This consent means the parent gives up all rights to the child, although it also means the parent is no longer responsible for the child. If the parent doesn't consent, an alternative option is terminating parental rights. To do so requires proof that the parent abandoned the child, is an unfit parent or, in the case of the father, isn't the child's biological father.

An investigator, usually a court investigator, social worker or family therapist, interviews the stepparent and submits this information to the court. The court date is set after the court receives this information. The child comes to the court date, and the court makes a ruling on the adoption. The entire process typically takes six months to a year.

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