In the United States, more than 250,000 children grow up without a biological parent and with one or more step-parents. Though step-parent adoption is on the rise and has more than quadrupled since the 1980s, it is still difficult to adopt a step-child, as they can’t be considered your own biological child. As more and more families become blended through marriage, divorce, and remarriage though, step-parenthood becomes increasingly common.
Step-parent adoption is actually a complicated process that can be confusing. Still, you can make it happen with the right information and an experienced and knowledgeable family lawyer in Ridgeland beside you. There are many misconceptions about step-families. They’re often thought to be less stable than nuclear families. But several studies show that 51% of adults from step-families have been married to each other for at least ten years, and the divorce rate is actually lower than it is among couples with no children who marry.
How to Pursue a Step-Parent Adoption?
Step-parent adoption is a type of adoption where the adoptee’s birth parent is married to the adoptive parent, and the child was born into the marriage. The first thing that needs to be done if considering pursuing a stepparent adoption is to petition for legal guardianship of the child. Once this has been granted, one can then petition for adoption after complying with all other requirements and jurisdictional regulations. Unlike traditional adoptions, step-parents only need to be married to the child’s parent for six months before they can pursue adoption.
Uncontested Vs. Contested Step-Parent Adoption
The decision to adopt a step-child is an emotional one but can also be challenging for some families. There are two types of adoption that are available to step-parents, contested and uncontested. An American trend of the adoption process is the difference between contested and uncontested adoptions. There are often times when couples or individuals will consent to adoption for their child, while other parents do not agree with the adoption. Child welfare laws in almost all states provide for two types of procedural pathways to establishing an adoptive relationship with a child.
Uncontested adoption is the process of adopting someone with consent from that person’s biological parent or guardian. A contested adoption is the process of adopting someone without consent from that person’s biological parent or guardian. The court system in the US typically prefers uncontested adoptions over contested ones. Uncontested adoptions are less expensive, easier to maintain, and typically avoid prolonged litigation.