Certain families have unique setups that require legal procedures to formalize specific rights and obligations, especially between parents and children. It could also be relevant with stepparents. They could adopt their stepchild to settle conservatorship issues, formalize parent-child rights and set clear boundaries regarding parental obligations.
However, a stepparent cannot simply adopt their stepchild whenever they want to. Before attempting to file a petition, they should first meet the following qualifications:
- They have a termination of parental rights order. Sometimes, stepparents could file these orders together with the adoption petition, depending on the circumstances.
- The child is not older than 18 years old.
- The child lived with the stepparent for at least six months before receiving court approval.
If the stepparent and stepchild meet these conditions, they could be eligible for adoption.
How do I start the process?
Firstly, you should determine where to file the adoption case. It must be at the district or statutory county court where you or the child live.
Then, you could determine if you should file for termination of parental rights with the adoption petition. It could depend on the family’s circumstances, so it is best to receive sound legal counsel regarding what you need to file.
After collecting the necessary documents, you can file them and pay a fee. It typically varies based on the county, but you could request the judge to waive it if you cannot afford it.
Adoption procedures can be lengthy
Sometimes, the judge could be reasonably quick in granting the adoption. However, they could also order various procedures as requirements. These necessities include evaluations, criminal history reviews and additional documents for compliance.
If the child is over 12, they might need to provide their consent in writing or by appearing in court. Petitioners, including you and your spouse, might appear in court as required.
The outcome of the process could vary. Still, learning about the procedures, your eligibility and requirements could help you navigate the process and address issues when they arise.