Stepparent adoptions provide an adoptive stepparent with the same rights and responsibilities as a birth parent.
The general process for a stepparent or second parent adoption includes the following steps:
- A Petition for Adoption must be filed.
- In the situation where a parent of the child is giving up their parental rights so a step-parent can adopt the child, generally, that parent must consent to the proposed stepparent adoption.
- The child’s birth parent (not the spouse of the stepparent) must be notified either personally or by publication.
- The stepparent must undergo a criminal records background check.
- A home study of the child’s living situation with the potential adopting stepparent will be required.
- If there are issues pertaining to non-payment of support or abandonment of the child by the other birth parent for a period of at least one year, additional steps may need to be taken.
- When the court issues a final decree of adoption, the judge will also issue an order terminating the other parent’s parental rights at that time.