If you have gotten remarried and have welcomed stepchildren into your family, you may be wondering whether or not you can make your relationship with your stepchildren “official” beyond just being married to one of their parents. You can, in fact, go through the adoption process to become the legal parent of your stepchildren.
Here’s a quick look at the processes involved in adopting a stepchild with the assistance of a family lawyer in Miami, FL.
The first step is to determine whether or not you meet the requirements necessary under Florida law to adopt the child. There are only two situations in which Florida law allows a stepparent to adopt a stepchild. The first is if the stepparent’s spouse, or the parent of the child(ren) to be adopted, consents to the adoption. If that spouse does not give their consent, then the only circumstance in which a stepparent adoption would be allowed is if the court determines it is in the best interest of the child to grant the adoption.
Once you’ve determined your eligibility to adopt a stepchild, the next step is to notify the court with an official petition. Assuming the spouse of the would-be adopting stepparent is in agreement with the adoption, the parties would need to file a petition for step parent adoption.
Along with your petition, you’ll need to provide a certified copy of each birth certificate, a UCCJEA affidavit, documentation for any interviews that were held with the children by social workers and copies of judgments that terminate parental rights, if applicable.
After the petition is filed, notice will need to be given to any other interested parties. This is to give these parties an opportunity to challenge the petition. If the other parent agrees to waive parental rights and allow for the adoption to go through, then the process will go relatively smoothly. If not, though, the other parent will have an opportunity to argue against the adoption in court and indicate why they believe it is in the child’s best interest for the other parent to maintain parental rights.
Once the adoption is official, the other parent waiving parental rights will no longer be required to pay child support, but will also no longer be able to use his or her relationship with the child in court.
The adoption process for stepparents can be tricky because of how it frequently requires the waiving of parental rights from another party, but by working with a trusted family law attorney in Miami, FL at the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler, you can get through the process as smoothly as possible. Get in touch with us today to learn more.
Categorized in: Family Law