3 Important Facts About Adopting Your Step-Child When The Absent Parent Is Not Around

Posted on: 2 January 2015

If you are married to someone who was already a parent and you wish to formalize your relationship with that child, it may be a good time to speak with an adoption lawyer. One of the biggest concerns in step parent adoptions is often the status of the missing parent. Fortunately, the laws in many states do permit an adoption in certain instances, such as when the absent parent has lost or waived their rights as a parent, has abandoned the child, or is deceased.

When The Other Parent Is In Prison (Or Has Been Found Guilty Of A Heinous Act)

It is obvious to most people that there are certain crimes, having been committed, that would render a person unfit to be around children, even their own. As a result, child abuse (of any type) and some violent crimes will often trigger the loss of parental rights. This could happen, even if the prison sentence has been completed and the abuser is on work-release, probation or parole.

If the rights were not terminated at the time of conviction or release from the prison system, it may not be too late to do so now. When those rights are terminated, you can proceed with your adoption. 

When The Second Biological Parent Is Deceased 

An easier adoption is possible when the absent parent is deceased. In that case, it is a simple matter of having the attorney file the necessary paperwork, complete any background checks and talking to the future adoptee to be sure they agree to it and if it is logical to do so at their age. 

When The Absent Parent Has Abandoned The Child

It is important to understand that child abandonment is not limited to the mere presence a parent has in their child's life. Financial support is also a factor that the courts will consider. Many judges are willing to terminate a child's legal relationship with a parent, if that parent is at least a year behind in support payments. 

There are no set-in-stone laws that impact the legal relationship and this adoption option can vary tremendously, even between different courts in the same state. 

Finally, it is crucial to remember that in the United States, each state has the right to make their own laws and there are no federal laws that govern step-parent adoptions.Therefore, it is essential to speak with an experienced adoption attorney, like those at Adoption Surrogacy and Family Law Firm, to learn how to create a permanent, lasting bond with the child you already think of your own.