If your spouse already had a child when you got married, then you were likely happy to embrace your spouse's child into your life. Being a step parent can be a very rewarding experience. You have likely grown closer and closer to your step child since they entered your life, and you may now want to become their legal parent. However, you may have some misconceptions about step parent adoption law that are getting in the way of you finally performing the steps you need to take to become your step child's legal parent.
Read on to learn two common misconceptions about step parent adoption law and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: A Child Can Only Have Two Legal Parents
If, along with your spouse, your step child already has another parent who shares custody of your step child and plays an active role in your step child's life, then you may think that it would be simply impossible to become the child's third legal parent -- a child can only have two legal parents, right?
While some states do only allow a child to have two legal parents, there are some that now allow a child to have more than two legal parents. If you find out that you live in one of these states, then you may be able to fulfill your dream of becoming your step child's legal parent, even if both biological parents currently share legal custody of the child.
States that currently allow a child to have three legal parents include California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, and Massachusetts. However, if you live outside of one of these states, don't feel hope is lost -- more and more states are considering allowing children to have more than two legal parents on a case-by-case basis, and it can't hurt to see if yours will allow you to become your child's third legal parent.
Myth #2: Trying to Adopt Is Hopeless If the Other Legal Parent Will Not Consent to It
If you live in a state that only allows a child to have two legal parents or your spouse and you feel that it would be in the best needs of your step child for the other parent's parental rights to be terminated before you adopt your step child, then it is true that getting the other parent to consent to the adoption is the easiest way to then become your step child's legal guardian.
However, don't fall for the misconception that you cannot become your step child's legal parent if the child's other parent will not consent to the adoption. In most states, a child is considered to be legally "abandoned" by a legal parent if the parent has not paid child support in a year and/or has not communicated with the child for a year (although this time period can vary slightly state-to-state). If your child has been legally abandoned by the other parent and a good family or adoption lawyer can prove this in court, then you have a good chance of getting the court's permission to become your step child's legal parent
In addition, if your lawyer can prove that the child's current parent was never their true legal parent to begin with, you won't need the parent's permission to adopt your step-child at all.
If your spouse had a child before you got married, then it is only natural that you would want to become their legal parent, if possible, after growing close to them. Don't let these two step parent adoption law myths get in the way of you seeking legal guardianship of your step child.Share
16 May 2017
Adopting a child is a wonderful way to bring a child into your family and give a child that needs a home a loving environment to grow up in. Unfortunately, the adoption process is not easy to get through. If you fail to file one document, the adoption can be set back by months. This blog will show you what to expect as you work your way thorough the adoption process and give you a few ideas of the things that you should leave up to your family attorney. Hopefully, what I have learned through my two adoptions will help you get through yours with no issues.