Stepparent adoption is now the most common type of adoption. Across the U.S. today, the majority of all families are re-coupled or re-married, meaning that millions of children are raised in the care of their step-parents. Studies show that about 1,300 new step-families form each and every day. Many stepparents seek to adopt their stepchild following marriage in order to establish a legal link between themselves and their new child.
Stepparent adoptions in Oklahoma are generally far easier to complete than other forms of adoption. However, there will still be several issues to consider and obstacles to overcome. All stepparents will have questions at the start of the adoption experience. The following is a look at some common questions of prospective stepparent adopters. Call our Tulsa family law attorneys step-parent adoption specialists today for more information.
How do I Begin Adoption of my Stepchild:
Your adoption journey begins by consulting with an attorney knowledgeable in the field of adoption law. Your family law attorney will provide you with an in depth explanation as to the stepparent adoption process and start by filing your petition to adopt. The petition will contain basic information about you and your stepchild. It must also include information about each biological parent. If you have consent by both parents, this consent should be in writing and with the petition.
Biological Parents Consent to The Adoption:
While you will likely have no trouble obtaining the consent of your spouse. But the other biological parent might pose a problem. You will generally need to obtain this parent’s consent to adopt. However, if that cannot be obtained, you can still proceed with the adoption by seeking to have the absent parent’s rights terminated.
Your Oklahoma stepparent adoption will proceed more smoothly if you can obtain consent. Occasionally, however, the absent parent is unavailable. While this makes the adoption more difficult, it does not render it impossible.
There are several grounds which terminate the rights of the absent parent, including abandonment, felony conviction and imprisonment, mental illness or emotional problems, and more. Your attorney will prove invaluable in walking you through this more complex process of terminating the parental rights of the absent parent so that your adoption can proceed.
How Long Does a Stepparent Adoption Take:
Generally, the stepparent adoption process completes in around 45 days when consent occurs by both biological parents. If a termination of parental rights must occur, the process can take extra time. Either way, this form of adoption is usually far swifter than adoption agency adoption.
How Soon can I Adopt my Stepchild:
You must be married to the child’s biological parent for at least one year before you can petition for adoption in the state of Oklahoma.
What if my Stepchild Opposes the Adoption:
It can be difficult for children to watch their parent remarry and accept another parent figure into their life. You should give your stepchild time to adjust to the new situation and try to create an individual bond. With some love, understanding, and time, your stepchild will likely welcome the adoption.
Adoption is a wonderful option for many Oklahoma stepparents. The stepparent adoption lawyers at our firm have assisted stepparents across Oklahoma in adopting their loved stepchildren. We’ll analyze your individual situation in order to walk you through the stepparent adoption process in a stress free and timely manner. With the assistance of a family law attorney, you can have the permanent legal bond with your stepchild that you so desire.