One of the most common forms of adoption in the United States is stepchild
adoption. When a couple marries later in life, often at least one partner
brings at least one or more children into the new marriage. Sometimes,
the stepparent feels that
adopting their new stepchild might foster the development of a familial relationship.
If you’re interested in adopting one or more of your new stepchildren,
here is how it works.
In order for a
stepparent to adopt a child, the child’s biological parents must both consent to the adoption.
The first step, therefore, is to get permission from the biological mother
and father of the stepchild. While at least one of these parents might
already have given their permission, the parent uninvolved in the new
marriage must relinquish his or her rights as a parent. This parent must
fill out a “Consent to Adopt” Form.
Petition for Termination
If the other parent doesn’t agree, you may have to file a “Petition
for Termination” of that parent’s rights. In extreme cases,
parental rights can be involuntarily terminated. However, in cases where
the other parent would like to continue to be involved in his or her child’s
life, you would need to discuss your eligibility for filing this petition
with a lawyer. Arizona has particular statutes related to whether or not
you are eligible, so your attorney will likely ask you about the time
leading up to the decision to adopt in order to ascertain your suitability
for filing this petition.
Petition to Adopt
As the stepparent who wants to adopt, you must fill out a “Petition
to Adopt” form. If you have been married to the child’s parent
for at least one year, and have lived with the child for at least six
months, your adoption may move forward quickly, especially if you have
permission from both biological parents.
Call an Attorney
If you would like to begin this process, you will need the help of an experienced
Phoenix adoption lawyer to help you navigate the complicated adoption
process. He or she will be especially useful if you need to file the Petition
for Termination. Contact our highly rated family law attorneys at Arizona
Family Law to schedule a consultation. We offer affordable rates in addition
to our compassionate services and flexible appointment times. Call us
at (480) 418-0840 or
fill out our online form to contact us today.