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Stepparent Adoption: How it Works

Stepparent Adoption: How it Works

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.

Acquiring Consent

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.


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