There are many reasons a stepparent may wish to adopt the child of their spouse. That stepparent often “becomes” a de facto parent on many levels – financially, emotionally, socially, spiritually and morally. However, without formalizing the relationship between stepparent and stepchild into that of parent/child through the legal process of adoption, many intended benefits of the relationship may not come about. A strong example of this is that a step-child does not automatically inherit anything from a stepparent upon their death.
Stepparent adoption is most simply achieved when the non-custodial parent consents to the adoption and relinquishes their parental rights, thus paving the way for the stepparent to become the legal parent. If the non-custodial parent’s location is unknown or if they are unwilling to consent to stepparent adoption, there are still ways to accomplish your goal. Demonstrating to the Court that the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support or have meaningful contact with the child for the period of one year (or more) is one way. Harmful misconduct by the non-custodial parent, such as molestation, is another grounds for having the Court terminate the non-custodial parent’s rights.
Schedule an Appointment
Contact the Law Offices of David M. Lawler, Inc. to schedule an appointment and discuss your facts and circumstances concerning stepparent adoptions. Located in Lawrenceville, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas including Dacula and Gwinnett County as well as Hall, Jackson and Barrow Counties.