Many couples get divorced and later remarry. This can mean introducing stepsiblings, stepchildren, and stepparents into the mix. These marriages grow and change families in a number of ways. In some cases, a stepparent will adopt his or her stepchild. This can be a difficult process, so if you wish to adopt your stepchild, you will need to retain the help of a dedicated family law attorney. Read on to learn more about stepparent adoption in New York.

Why do Stepparent Adoptions Occur?

You may be wondering why you would legally adopt your stepchild. There are a number of reasons this adoption may occur, and every family is different, so the circumstances will differ vastly. In some cases, a stepparent will want to adopt a stepchild because his or her biological parent is incarcerated or institutionalized. Additionally, a stepparent does not have many legal rights when it comes to his or her stepchild. Adoption would allow the stepparent to be seen as a biological parent in the eyes of the law. This allows the stepparent to make important decisions regarding the child, involving medical treatment, education, religion, and more.

What are the Requirements?

If you wish to adopt your stepchild, there are a few important requirements you must meet. These requirements include:

  • Both biological parents must consent to the adoption or a court determines that their consent is not legally required. This can depend on many factors, such as whether the other parent is named on the child’s birth certificate and the extent to which she or he has taken physical, emotional and financial responsibility for the child.
  • The child must consent to his or her own stepparent adoption if the child is older than 14 years old.

Terminating Parental Rights

If you wish to adopt your stepchild, the non-custodial parent’s parental rights must be terminated. As mentioned above, this can happen if the parent gives permission for his or her rights to be terminated, but a parent is not always willing to do so. In the event that the parent will not give permission, the rights can be terminated by a court. This does not happen often. Generally, parental rights will only be terminated if evidence of abuse or neglect is found.

If you are interested in adopting your stepchild, contact our firm to discuss the process with a skilled family law attorney.

Contact our Firm

The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC understands the harsh implications of relocation can have on a child and his or her parents. When you have a contested relocation matter, it is important to have an experienced attorney to represent you in court. If you are faced with a relocation matter in Rockland County, contact The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC today to schedule a consultation.