As culture changes, so will society and what an American family looks like in 2020. Divorce has become more common, understood, and accepted by communities. Fortunately, this means the shame and stigma that accompanied a marriage ending is no longer relevant. People are finding themselves free to leave bad relationships and explore new ways to find happiness in the world. Blended families or families where spouses already have children from a previous marriage have significantly increased in the modern age.
Many loving stepparents question whether or not they should adopt their stepchildren. Parents should answer several questions to determine if adopting stepchildren is the right choice for your family. Remember, this is a legal process and is best handled with an adoption attorney’s assistance in your home state.
How the rights of a biological parent can be waived.
In most cases, a stepchild can only be adopted by a stepparent if the biological parent is willing to waive their parental rights. This can be for mutually beneficial reasons; for example, the other parent has moved to another country and has no plans on returning. In different situations, they may lose their parental rights due to imprisonment, neglect, abandonment, or abuse. In rare cases, a parent’s rights may be waived if it can be genetically proven they are not the biological parent of a child.
Other stepchild adoption factors to consider
Determine if hiring a family law attorney is in your best interest. Remember that adoption requires the other parent (not your spouse or partner) to waive their rights regarding their children. Approving the adoption means they will no longer have a legally enforced voice regarding where their children will live if they have visitation rights and many other lifestyle factors. It is possible to navigate these legal channels on your own, but it is often preferable to have an attorney on your side. This is especially true if the ex-spouse is challenging to work with, or you believe the children are in danger because the parent is dangerous.
Ensure you are ready for the responsibility that comes along with adopting a child. If you adopt a stepchild and do not have biological children of your own, caring for a child may be a new experience. Keep in mind that once the adoption has been completed, you will now be responsible for the child, even if the marriage ends with the adopted children’s parent. It is a beautiful thing when a person can show the same love, care, and attention that a biological parent would. However, it is an enormous responsibility, so the decision to adopt should not be made without proper consideration.
How to move forward?
Even the state handles the process of adopting stepchildren differently. This process can be confusing and even intimidating for individuals who are not familiar with the world of family law. If you live in Utah and would like to learn more, we invite you to contact our office today to see what Burton Family Attorneys can do for you and your family.
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