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Stepparents are the spouses of the custodial parents of a child. If you are such a parent and have been married to the custodial parent for at least one year, then you may petition for child adoption.
You and the child’s custodial parent will be interviewed by a representative from your county’s Department of Social Services regarding your suitability. The representative will also see if consent can be obtained from the other birth parent.
You will need to either obtain the consent of the child’s other birth parent or terminate that parent’s rights regarding the child before the adoption may be granted. If consent is obtained, the process can be simple.
Without the consent of the other birth parent, you will have to terminate that parent’s parental rights. This may be based on the parent’s abandonment of the child, evidenced by lack of contact for at least one year, or for their willful refusal to provide or pay court ordered support. You may also demonstrate that the parent is unfit for their duties, due to criminal conduct, abuse or other detrimental behavior that would place the child’s health or safety at risk.
Another possible avenue is to challenge the parent’s parenthood. However, a man married to a woman who gives birth to a child during the marriage is presumed to be the father. A man who is on the child’s birth certificate as the father is legally the father, as well, and you may not challenge these presumptions.
If you do not wish to give consent to the stepparent of your child and your parental rights are being threatened, contact an attorney from the Kearney Baker Law Office regarding your rights. There may be legitimate reasons why contact with your child was not practicable or that you were prevented from contact, as well other explanations to counter arguments presented by the stepparent seeking to terminate your rights.
Call our office today if you are seeking a stepparent adoption or a stepparent wants to terminate your rights.