Stepparent Adoption/Termination of Parental Rights
Making a family whole sometimes means that a step-parent adoption is or is not necessary or appropriate. If a natural father or mother has failed to fulfill his or her role by, among other things, abandoning, neglecting, or abusing a child, then there are grounds to consider for termination of parental rights. Once grounds exist for termination of parental rights, the best interest of your child will be outcome determinative to the court’s decision to terminate parental rights and allow the adoption or to deny the request. The court is more likely to terminate parental rights (and replace that parent legally with a step-parent) if the petition for termination is filed in conjunction with a petition for adoption.
A parent who has not been involved in a child’s life may also consider voluntarily relinquishing his or her rights. Once the rights of a parent are terminated, and the child’s natural remaining parent consents to the adoption (and the child if the child is 12 years or older), the child’s step-parent can adopt the child once all the other qualifications are established.
Call us today on these issues whether you are considering filing for adoption or whether you need an aggressive defense against a petition for adoption that has been filed against you.