Families come in all shapes and sizes. In Nevada, blended families are common. Often, with blended families, the question may arise regarding the adoption of stepchildren. Like any other adoption case, adopting a stepchild is not always an easy process. This article sheds light on what you can expect.
Adoption is usually the most rewarding type of law family law attorneys do. It gives permanency to children and helps parents grow their family. However, the process can be difficult to navigate. Step children adoptions may not be as other adoptions but there are still challenges. If you are considering a step-child adoption, you should know your legal options and understand the complexities of the step-child adoption process.
What is the process for adopting a stepchild?
Like any other adoption, a step-child adoption is a two part process. The first part is terminating the biological parent’s rights. This can be challenging in and of itself, especially if the biological parent does not agree to have their rights terminated. Termination of parental rights is the subject of another article so we wont go into too much detail here. Just know that in order to adopt, the biological parent’s rights must be terminated first.
The second step is to adopt. The process begins by filing a petition with the Court asking to adopt. You must identify yourself, the children and your spouse. You must disclose information about your background such as whether or not you have been convicted of any felonies, whether or not you have been charged with abuse or neglect of a child and whether or not you have ever had certain types of licenses taken away from you. Depending upon your circumstances, you may need a home-study especially if you have a prior abuse and neglect allegation or if you have been convicted of certain types of felonies. You will need to attend a hearing and confirm before a judge that you wish to adopt. Also, if you are adopting a child over the age of 14, the child must agree to be adopted.
How long does the adoption process take for step-children?
Assuming there is nothing in your background that requires a home-study or delays the proceedings, usually an adoption can take place quickly. Often, a step-parent adoption can occur in less the two months. Mostly, this depends on how quickly you can get your paperwork filed with the Court and get a court date with the judge.
Once I adopt what happens?
Once the adoption is finalized, you become the legal parent of your step-children. This carries all of the rights and responsibilities as if the child was born to you. This means that you are responsible for the child’s health, safety and welfare. Your step-children will also have the right to inherit from you as if they were children born to you.
What else should I know about adopting a stepchild?
Step-parent adoptions are amazing events in our family court. We strongly recommend that you have family members present for the adoption hearing. Take lots of pictures and you might even consider have a professional photographer there.
If you or someone you know is considering a step-parent adoption, we can help. Call our office today at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information.