Further unifying a family by adopting your new spouse’s children is a wonderful way to help strengthen the bond you have developed together. In Missouri, as it is in most states, stepparent adoption is actually easier to complete than a non-relative adoption. However, it still comes with its own unique challenges that can be made easier with the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in such matters. Typically, the most difficult aspect of a stepparent adoption is getting the other parent to consent to the adoption.
Obtaining the Other Parent’s Consent
In any stepparent adoption, the other child’s birth parent must consent to the adoption since he or she is the legally recognized parent. If the child’s birth parent refuses to consent to the adoption, it will not be allowed unless his or her parental rights are terminated. Grounds for termination include abandonment, unfitness, or failure to support the child.
It can be difficult to obtain the consent of a birth parent since doing so will mean relinquishing all parental rights, including the right to visit the child or partake in decision making, including issues related to medical treatment or education. In some cases, a birth parent might be willing to give up this right if he or she believes it serves the best interests of the child, or because it will also mean he or she will no longer be responsible for child support.
Terminating Parental Rights
If the other birth parent refuses to consent to the adoption, you still have other options to successfully adopt your stepchild. To terminate the birth parent’s rights, you will either have to prove one of the following:
- The absent parent abandoned the child or willfully failed to support the child
- The absent parent is not the presumed father
- The birth parent is unfit
Having an attorney on your side who is experienced in stepchild adoptions will increase your chances at proving the refusing birth parent’s rights should be terminated and that the adoption serves the best interests of the child.
Family Law Attorneys Simplifying the Adoption Process in Missouri
If you are seeking to adopt your new spouse’s stepchild, the legal team at Smith Law Offices, LLC in St. Charles is here to help you navigate the complexities of family law and adoption, regardless how complicated your own specific circumstances might be. With over 20 years of combined experience, you can be confident in our abilities to help you achieve your goal.
Call our office today at (636) 400-1177 to schedule a consultation.