There are many children in the state of Minnesota who are being raised by one biological parent and a step parent. There are times in which the step parent may wish to adopt the child as their own since they have been raising the child as their own. What this adoption will do is allow them to assume full legal responsibility for the child. After the adoption is finalized, the child is considered their own from then on. The non-custodial biological parent will be surrendering their rights to the child completely, which means they will no longer be responsible for the child in any way. The adoptive parent will then make all of the important decisions, such as medical care, religion, and education.
Surrendering Of Parental Rights
The first step in step parent adoption is to have the non-custodial biological parent surrender their parental rights. This means they’ll never have to pay child support or be obligated to the child in any way. The form giving up parental rights is signed in front of a number of witnesses and a notary. The signer only has a few weeks to revoke the document. After the time has passed, the parent will not be able to revoke it, thus their rights to the child are permanently terminated.
The Adoption Petition
Once the form terminating parental rights is signed, the remaining parent and the step parent may then petition the court for adoption through normal adoption proceedings. The state may decide to conduct a background check or do a home study to ensure the child is in a sound environment. However, backgrounds checks and home studies are not always necessary, especially when the child has already been in the care of the step parent for quite some time.
A hearing is then scheduled for a judge to hear. The child and the adopting parents must be present. Your Medina divorce lawyer will also be there with you to ensure the process moves along as smoothly as possible. During this hearing, testimony will be taken in regards to why the adopting parent should be allowed to adopt the child and any questions will be answered.
Once the adoption is granted, the child is then yours to make decisions for on a legal level. Although you may have already been making decisions for the child as a step parent, you are now as legal a guardian as the natural parent you are married to. The child can also take on your last name. There are some cases in which the child will keep their name, especially if the child doesn’t wish to change it, but it is a right that you and the child have.
Contact A Medina Family Law Attorney
If you are a step parent wishing to adopt your step child, doing so is possible. If the non-custodial parent is not a part of the child’s life or does not wish to be obligated to the child in any way, then you can have them sign over their rights, giving you the right to file an adoption petition. Because this process can be complex, you need a competent attorney working by your side to make it move as smoothly as possible. To get started by scheduling your free initial consultation, call us at (952) 898-6834 or fill out our contact form to learn the steps of adopting a step parent and what your rights are during the process.