It’s natural when forming a new marriage with a blended family to want everything to be as cohesive as possible. Especially if a child has a wonderful relationship with a stepparent, it’s natural to want to solidify that bond by having an official adoption. This can be particularly beneficial in any situations where a biological parent is not involved, or is an unsafe person for the children to be around.
Can a Stepparent Adopt a Stepchild?
Stepparents are permitted to adopt stepchildren, and follow many of the same steps as independent adoptions. Stepparent adoptions can be even easier than independent adoptions and many of the processes can be streamlined.
Can someone adopt your child without your consent?
No one can adopt your child without your consent, unless your parental rights are terminated. In order for a child to be adopted, consent must be given by the child’s biological parents. If you have joint custody with your ex-spouse, he or she would have to petition for sole custody as a first step before even being able to begin the stepparent adoption process.
Terminating Parental Rights
The only way another parent can adopt your child without your consent is by terminating your parental rights. Someone must prove one of the following situations:
- Someone must prove the absent parent has abandoned the child – Laws in most states allow extinction of parental rights if he or she has knowingly and purposefully failed to meet the needs of the child or has abandoned the child for a period of time, usually a year.
- Someone must prove the absent parent is not biologically the father by establishing paternity. Some states assume paternity if the people are married at the time of the child’s birth. Consult an attorney to learn the laws of your state.
New Jersey Stepparent Adoption Lawyers
If your ex-spouse’s new spouse is attempting to adopt your child, you need the help of the experienced stepparent adoption lawyers at Natale Law. Call 973-324-9711, or contact us online for a free initial consultation.