The Stepparent Adoption Process in Orlando
Stepparent adoptions are very special, and they are a blessing for the entire family. Adoptions involving stepparents give both the stepparent and the biological parent equal parenting rights. Legally, a stepparent adoption makes it as though both parties are the child’s biological parents. After the adoption, changes to the birth certificate will reflect the last names of each parent. While stepparent adoptions do benefit every member of the family, the process is very complicated. It is important to work with an Orlando stepparent adoption lawyer who can help you navigate it.
Obtain Consent from Both Biological Parents
In order for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild, each biological parent must consent to the adoption. The requirement for consent can be waived, but only in limited situations. These include when a biological parent has been deemed incompetent and it is unlikely they will get better, if abandonment is involved, and when the rights of one biological parent have already been terminated. If the non-custodial parent will not consent to the adoption, there are legal options for overcoming their objections.
File the Petition
The stepparent who wants to adopt their stepchild is known as the petitioner. They must file the petition with the court, which formally asks a judge to approve the adoption and grant them full parental rights. Once the petition, along with the documents to support the adoption, are filed the adoption process officially begins.
Schedule a Hearing
Once the petition is filed with the court, you will receive notice of the judge who you will appear in front of at the hearing. The date of the hearing will depend on your own schedule and the availability of the judge in your case. It is always recommended that you work with an Orlando stepparent adoption lawyer and they will send you the Notice of Hearing after receiving it.
Attending the Hearing
Stepparent adoption hearings are typically quite friendly, even though they are formal court hearings. The purpose of the hearing is to ensure proper procedure is followed, and that all parties who are required to agree to the adoption. Stepparent adoptions only last between 10 and 15 minutes. Once the hearing is concluded, a judgment will be issued. If the adoption has been approved by the court, the order will be issued either during or shortly after the hearing. After the judgment is entered, the stepparent is granted legal parental rights.
Getting a New Birth Certificate
Once the adoption is final, the parents can apply for a new birth certificate that reflects the names of the new parent. The original certificates are sealed. If you are working with a stepparent adoption lawyer, they can also take care of this task for you.
Our Stepparent Adoption Lawyer in Orlando Can Guide You Through the Process
While stepparent adoptions certainly are a blessing, the process can be overwhelming. At Anderson & Ferrin, P.A., our Orlando stepparent adoption lawyer can guide you through it, remove much of the stress you are feeling, and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us now at 407-412-7041 or contact us online to request a free consultation and to learn more.