I Want To Adopt My Stepchild. Where Do I Start?
Bill Pesch, a family law attorney in Guam, shares his love of adoptions, “My enthusiasm for adoptions is not only professional, it’s also highly personal. I am myself an adoptive father of two wonderful sons.” There are many different reasons individuals may choose to adopt. For some couples facing infertility, their longing to have a family leads them to adoption as a way of growing a family. For some, marrying a spouse with children from a former marriage may spark a desire to solidify the parenting relationship with stepchildren.
Barriers To Stepparent Adoption
Often in stepparent adoptions, the biological parent may deny his or her consent of the adoption, creating a barrier to the process. Legally, children cannot have more than two parents, whether legal or biological. So, for a stepparent to have legal rights to adopt a stepchild, that child’s biological parent must relinquish his or her legal rights as a parent.
What rights would the stepparent have once the adoption is final?
Once the adoption is final, the stepparent takes on full rights and responsibilities, just as any other biological or legal parent of the child would have. For example:
- The stepparent obtains authority in decision-making with regard to medical and educational decisions for the adopted kids.
- The adoption discontinues the need for a guardianship agreement to assign the stepparent as the child’s guardian in case the other parent dies.
- The child becomes a natural heir of the stepparent.
- The stepparent becomes legally obligated to support the child financially, and would be required to pay child support in the event of divorce.
Family law attorney Gary Natale has practiced law more than twenty years. His law firm is toally committed to delivering client service that surpasses the status quo. We won’t quit until all your questions are answered and we have found the right solution for your family’s specific goal. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with a lawyer with decades of family law experience.