Step-parent adoption can be a wonderfully joyful event. As a step-parent, you may wish to formally adopt your spouse’s child from a prior relationship, or, you may desire for your curent husband or wife to adopt your child from a previous relationship – but the natural parent must receive notice of the adoption proceeding. In a best-case scenario, the natural parent consents to the adoption and agrees to terminate his or her parental rights in order to allow the child to be adopted by the step- parent. If the natural parent does not voluntarily consent, the process becomes more complicated and difficult. If consent is not voluntary, the court must order that the natural parent’s rights be terminated, which requires the parent to be determined as “unfit” before the step-parent adoption will be approved by the court.
Typically, when a petition for step-parent adoption is filed with the court, a social worker will be required to conduct a background check on the proposed step-parent, a “home study” of the step-parent’s residence, and prepare a formal report to the court. You may have options available on how best to proceed with a step-parent adoption. Before you take any action that may jeopardize your efforts, call (206)697.2099 or go to the Contact page for more information.