Step-parent/relative adoption today is not what it once was. The murky legal waters can be difficult for someone who simply wants to provide for a child. Step-parent/relative adoption is something our firm is familiar with, and something we understand can be stressful. Therefore, we have put together a few common questions and helpful hints.
The first thing we would like to address is step-parent or relative adoption.
In an adoption within a family, there are fewer requirements than in a private or state adoption. These kinds of adoptions generally fall into two categories; contested and uncontested. In either case, if the child is over twelve years of age, the child must consent their own adoption.
A contested adoption means that one parent is not willing to relinquish his/her parental rights. Contested adoptions are expensive, difficult to obtain, and lengthy. In these instances, it is necessary to prove abuse, neglect, or abandonment of the child. This is extremely difficult to do.
In an uncontested adoption the biological parents are either deceased or willing to relinquish their parental rights. In uncontested cases, provided that all paperwork is signed in a timely manner, the process is relatively quick and painless.
After the adoption is finalized, a new birth certificate is issued, with the adoptive parents listed, and shortly thereafter the records of the adoption are sealed and can only be opened under court order. The adoptive parent is then, and forevermore, responsible financially, physically, and emotionally for the child.
Please remember though, that each case is different and unique. For the best advice on your particular issues, please speak with an attorney. If you have further questions, contact us for a free consultation. Rooney & Rooney, P.A.