A stepparent often takes on a pivotal role in a child’s life. Whether the child has a relationship with both birth parents or one is out of the picture, their stepparent can offer love and support that goes above and beyond. At a certain point, a stepparent might be ready to adopt their partner’s child.
The stepparent adoption process is relatively straightforward, and often moves faster than other types of adoption. However, there are a few essential steps to follow.
Obtaining consent from the child’s other birth parent
The most crucial step in a stepparent adoption is getting permission from the child’s parent. In Florida, stepparents must always obtain consent from the child’s mother. The father’s approval is necessary if:
- The father was married to the child’s mother when the child was conceived or born
- The father has legally adopted the child
- A court proceeding has established him as the child’s father
- He has filed a paternity affidavit
- (In the case of an unmarried father) He has filed an acknowledgment of paternity with the local courts
In some cases, it is hard to know whether the father’s consent is required. Consulting with an attorney can help clear up any confusion.
What if the other parent doesn’t consent to the adoption?
The other option is to terminate the other parent’s legal parental rights. This can happen a few different ways. Termination of parental rights might be appropriate in situations of:
- Unfit parent (abusive, neglectful, incarcerated)
- Uncertain paternity
An attorney experienced in Florida’s adoption processes can help you determine the best way to go about adopting a stepchild. No matter what challenges arise, having someone on your side can help your family when you need it most.