Each year, blended families become more common in Anderson and throughout the United States. The changing family norms can bring unique legal challenges, however, such as when a stepparent decides to pursue adoption.
Whether you are a parent or a stepparent of a minor child, adoption could represent a significant challenge. Fortunately, a knowledgeable adoption attorney can help you overcome those challenges. Let an Anderson stepparent adoption lawyer advise you on your rights so you can navigate the process with ease.
Benefits of Stepparent Adoption
Stepparents may pursue the adoption of a stepchild for a variety of reasons. For many, adoption is simply a way to formally strengthen a fully realized family bond. That being said, adopting a child has a number of legal benefits as well.
One of the primary advantages of stepparent adoption is health insurance. Legally adopting allows a stepparent to place their stepchild on their employment-based coverage.
It is not uncommon for a stepparent to want to pass on their inheritance to a stepchild. Adoption allows this to occur, even if a will is not in place at the time of the stepparent’s passing.
Formally adopting a stepchild has practical benefits as well, such as allowing the stepparent to pick the child up from school or daycare. Adoption also grants stepparents the right to make medical decisions on behalf of their stepchild while the child is in their care.
Given the importance of these matters, it can be helpful to speak with an Anderson attorney about the advantages and challenges associated with adopting a child as a stepparent. The experienced lawyer can also serve as a guide from petition to hearing.
Process of Stepparent Adoption in Anderson
The process for adopting a stepchild under state law is not as complex as most adoption proceedings. Unlike other types of adoptions, there is no requirement that the State screen a stepparent, unless the court orders it. A skilled attorney can explain how stepparent adoptions differ from others.
Stepparent adoption begins with the filing of a petition with a local family court. For this process to be successful, the applicant must have consent from several parties, including:
- The stepparent’s spouse
- The child’s other biological parent, as long as their parental rights have not been terminated.
- The child if they are age 14 or older
Conflicts in these cases typically involve the consent of the other parent. It may be necessary to seek termination of parental rights as a part of a stepparent adoption. Ultimately, the family court will hold a hearing to determine whether stepparent adoption is in the child’s best interest.
Talk to an Anderson Stepparent Adoption Attorney
Adopting a stepchild can be difficult on your own. One mistake can result in lengthy court delays and put the prospect of adoption at risk.
Let a compassionate Anderson stepparent adoption lawyer help you meet the requirements of adoption under the law. Get in touch for a private consultation right away.