Stepparents can be the most important people in a child’s life, but they may not be able to provide the protection they need. However, stepparents can adopt their spouse’s children to ensure that they have parental rights and can legally protect and provide for their children. Keep reading for more information about stepparent adoption.

Understanding Parental Rights

Parental rights are the right to make critical decisions regarding a child’s education, healthcare, and daily provisions. These are legal rights that grant parents the legal right to make important decisions on behalf of their children until the child is a legal adult.

These decisions may address:

  • Education
  • Medical treatment
  • Religion

This privilege also allows parents to include children inn their will and may enter a contract on their child’s behalf.

Ultimately, parental rights protect the well-being of a child and are a privilege and a right. Parents who do not wish to provide or take initiative in their child’s life, they may legally forfeit their parental rights. This can occur when a parent puts their child up for adoption in some cases.

Stepparent Adoption

While adoption can involve the revocation of parental rights, it can also be an opportunity for step parents to gain parental rights. It is important to note that the adoption process is complex and requires court approval.

Non-biological parent can have full legal and physical custody of the child after adoption meaning stepparents can have the same parental rights as the biological parent. It is important to note that the court will determine eligibility for adoption and will base the decision on the child’s best interests.

Adoption in Missouri

To adopt a child and obtain parental rights, a stepparent must file a Petition for Adoption to the court in the county where the child resides. Adoption papers must be submitted by the biological parent and the partner seeking adoption.

Once the petition is filed, the preliminary pleadings are submitted, and the court will select guardian ad litem to be a representative of the child and interview every party involved. The court will determine whether the adoption is in the child’s best interests.

If the child is age 14 or older, the stepparent must receive written consent from the child before the adoption can move forward.

Entrust Your Adoption to Attorneys Who Care

Smith Law Offices, LLC is proud to empower stepparents take the next step toward protecting their stepchildren. You love your stepchildren, and to you, they are already like your own, but unfortunately the law does not recognize you as a legal parent until you can adopt the child. Our firm can help you petition for adoption and advocate for you and your family.

Contact our law offices for more information.

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