New Hampshire families come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes, families grow through adoption. If you marry a person who already has children, you may wonder if it is possible to adopt his or her kids. Stepparent adoption can sometimes be complex, but it is possible for you to accomplish this goal with help and guidance.
There are multiple factors that could make it rather complicated to adopt your spouse's children. You will find it beneficial to seek experienced guidance as you work to make this a reality. While stepparent adoption does not involve home studies and other steps required by domestic and international adoption, there are certain things you need to know before you initiate this process.
What has to happen?
In order to complete a stepparent adoption, a termination of parental rights has to take place. This is often the most complex aspect of this process. If you want to adopt the children of your spouse, the other biological parent will have to give his or her consent. By doing this, he or she is relinquishing his or her parental rights.
There are situations in which the other biological parent either refuses to give consent or is not available to do so. It is still possible to ask a court to move forward with a termination of parental rights if you can prove the following:
- The parent is unfit due to mental issues, drug addiction, long-term incarceration or other reason
- The biological parent abandoned the child by refusing to see the child, failing to pay child support or not communicating with the child
- There is a chance the father is not the biological parent of the child
It can be complex to prove these things, but your family may find it beneficial to work closely with an experienced legal ally as you navigate these sensitive family law concerns.
Moving forward as a family unit
Walking through the process of stepparent adoption is not always easy. It can be challenging, especially when it comes to termination of parental rights. If your ultimate goal is to adopt your stepchildren, you may find it helpful to start with a complete evaluation of your case.
By reaching out for help, you can better understand your rights, options and more details about the stepparent adoption process. With the appropriate guidance, you can move forward to formalizing your relationship with your partner's children so you can all move forward as a family unit.