Adoption is an exciting time in any parent’s life, and stepparent adoptions are one of the most common forms of adoption in the United States. When people remarry, they often already have children whom they bring together as members of a new larger family.
As family bonds grow and strengthen, many stepparents are drawn toward fostering stronger familial bonds by adopting the stepchildren they’ve come to love. Arizona adoptions comprise a complicated legal process that follows a prescribed course.
The Benefits of Stepparent Adoption
Many people who have married a person with children from another relationship live as a family and often wonder why they should devote the time and effort associated with adopting a stepchild. There are various benefits of adopting a stepchild, including the following:
- Adopting a child expresses a long-term commitment to the relationship, often fostering a strong family bond for everyone involved
- Adopting a stepchild allows the adoptive parent to make important decisions regarding the child’s life, including those that involve religion, education, and medical care.
- Adopting a stepchild gives the stepparent parental rights in the event that their partner becomes incapacitated or the spouses later seek to divorce or separate.
The Acquisition of Consent to Adopt
To begin the adoption process, both biological parents of the stepchild must consent to the adoption. This means that the parent whom the stepparent is not married to must relinquish his or her parental rights and fill out and sign a Consent to Adopt form.
Typically, parents who are actively and healthily involved in their children’s lives will not relinquish their parental rights. Sometimes, however, the child’s other parent isn’t involved or willing to sign a Consent for Adoption. An attorney will know the proper way to pursue getting a Consent signed.
Petition for Termination
If the child’s other parent does not consent, an adoption attorney may file a Petition for Termination of parental rights. This could be appropriate if the other parent has a chronic drug problem, sexually abused, severely or chronically physically abused, psychologically abused, or abandoned the child.
Arizona has definitive statutes that will guide a stepparent’s eligibility in this endeavor, and the attorney will evaluate the suitability of the adoption situation before filing this petition.
Petition to Adopt
An attorney will guide the adoptive parent through filing out the Petition to Adopt form. If the stepparent and the child’s parent have been married for at least a year, and both biological parents have granted their permission, the adoption attorney may be able to move the adoption forward quickly.
The Complicated Adoption Process
Adopting a stepchild is undoubtedly very important – adopting a child is a formal strengthening familial bonds, after all. The adoption process, however, is complicated and is best left in the capable hands of a skilled Arizona adoption attorney who’s experienced in guiding stepparent adoptions.
Becoming a stepchild’s adoptive parent is extremely meaningful for all those involved, and so it is important for the process to go as smoothly as possible.
Do I Need an Attorney to Adopt My Stepchild?
Many people who are considering adopting their stepchild wonder whether they need the assistance of an attorney in order to do so. While there is certainly no law that requires prospective adoptive parents to enlist the assistance of a lawyer, it is generally a good idea to do so.
Adoption is a legally complicated process, and there are many ways that people unfamiliar with the process can delay or even derail it completely. When retaining an Arizona adoption lawyer, he or she will thoroughly explain the adoption process so that everyone knows exactly what to expect along every step of the way.
In addition, if there are any issues that have the potential to affect whether the stepparent is able to be certified to adopt, a lawyer will recognize them immediately and help to take steps to maximize the chances that the adoption goes as smoothly as possible.
Call Stuart & Blackwell Today
If you’re ready to adopt your stepchild, it’s an exciting and hopeful time for you and your family. Adoptions, however, are legally complicated, and you need a skilled Arizona adoption lawyer. At Stuart & Blackwell, we’re here to knowledgeably guide you through the process.
We have the experience and the dedication to help you successfully adopt your stepchild. Give us a call at (480) 420 2900 for a free consultation or contact us online today.