Robert G. Smith, PLLC

Adoption of a child by a stepparent

Stepparents in New York who wish to adopt their stepchildren may wonder what is necessary to set the process in motion. While a stepparent adoption may be less complex than other types of adoptions, it is necessary to obtain approval from the birth parent in most cases. Because this involves giving up all parental rights, there may be resistance from the birth parent.

In some cases, it may be possible to terminate parental rights without permission. If the other parent is male and is proven to not be the biological father, it may be possible to terminate parental rights. These rights can also be terminated if the parent is found unfit. This may be the case if the parent has problems with drug or alcohol abuse, has abused the child or has been incarcerated among other reasons.

If the other parent has not paid child support or had communication with the child for a year or more, it may be possible to prove abandonment. This can also lead to terminating parental rights.

However, a biological parent may also voluntarily give up parental rights. The parent may wish to no longer have financial and legal obligations toward the child or may think that the adoption is best for the child.

If a parent and stepparent want to arrange the adoption of a stepchild, they may wish to consult an attorney. There might be a number of cases in which it best serves the child. For example, a stepparent adoption might happen in conjunction with a child relocation. An attorney may be able to ensure that procedures are followed and forms are filled out correctly or may be able to assist with the other parent when discussing parental rights.

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