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When are stepparents able to adopt their stepchildren?

Adoption is a beautiful way for Florida parents to grow their families. Some adoptions involve a stepparent walking through the legal process in order to adopt his or her stepchild. This is not always an easy process, but you may explore how this type of adoption could be the most optimal choice for your unique family.

Adopting a stepchild is not always an option. It can be quite complex to secure the right permissions and to secure all requirements, but if you believe that this could be the right choice for you, it is beneficial to make the effort to fully understand the process required to meet this objective.

What needs to happen before I can adopt my stepchild?

One of the main hurdles in stepparent adoption is getting consent from the other biological parent. As you can imagine, this is not always an easy issue for a birth parent because by granting permission for a stepparent adoption to proceed, he or she is relinquishing all parental rights.

In cases where there was a termination of the legal rights of the biological parent in the past, this permission is not necessary. However, there may be a roadblock to your goal of adopting your stepchild when the other parent still has rights yet refuses to grant permission for the adoption. In this situation, you may be able to seek to have the right terminated. This could happen in the following situations:

  • The other parent is unfit
  • The other parent abandoned the child in the past
  • There is evidence that the other parent (if male) is not the father of the child

Moving to have the rights of a biological parent terminated is not easy, and there must be evidence that this course of action would be in the best interests of the child. If there is a termination of parental rights, you would be able to move forward with the adoption of your stepchild without permission from the other biological parent.

Accomplishing your family law goals

Your goal as a parent, biological or not, is to protect the best interests of your children above all else. This may mean pursuing adoption of your stepchild, which would allow you to enjoy the same rights, responsibilities and benefits as a biological parent.

When pursuing a specific family law goal, you would be wise to work with an experienced legal ally. This can help you avoid unnecessary complications and work toward your objectives more effectively.

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