The laws governing step parent adoption in Oklahoma require the person seeking to adopt (the Petitioner) to satisfy several conditions. When starting the step parent adoption process, you are ultimately seeking a final Decree of Adoption. The process is extremely complex and generally takes three months or more to complete. Once an Oklahoma step parent adoption is complete the step parent is given all parental rights as if they were a natural parent. This means that when the adoption is complete the step parent is Mom or Dad with no questions asked.
Termination of Parental Rights:
To initiate an adoption the petitioner must first file a notice of plan for adoption and a petition to terminate the appropriate parental rights. If it is the step-father seeking to adopt, we would seek to terminate the natural father’s rights. The rights of the natural parent must be terminated and the court needs to decree the child as being eligible for adoption. This can be done by consent of the natural parent or after a judicial hearing on your petition to terminate the appropriate parental rights. Once the parental rights are terminated and the child is eligible for adoption, the next step is to file a Petition for adoption.
Petition for Adoption:
The petition in a step parent adoption sets forth the facts supporting the adoption and all the relief requested by the petitioner. The relief requested generally includes that the relationship of parent and child be established between the minor and petitioner and perhaps a name change. The petition will also set forth facts that may trigger other legal requirements. For example; the petition must state if the child is an Indian child. This can trigger certain notice requirements for the tribe. There are several other procedures that may apply to your adoption.
Other Procedures for Adoption:
There are other laws applicable to an Oklahoma step parent adoption. In adoptions where the parental rights have not yet been terminated you may need to file an application to proceed with or without the consent of the natural parent. You may also be required to have a pre-placement home study conducted. You may also need to give notice to a related Indian Tribe. Some requirements can be waived by the court for good cause shown. After all the procedures have been completed you can apply for a final decree.
Final Decree of Adoption
Before the final hearing on the petition for adoption, the following must be filed in the proceeding when available. You must file the child’s birth certificate, the natural parent’s consent, order terminating parental rights, existing custody/visitation orders, a home study, interstate compact, public agency agreement, medical and social history, list of persons entitled to notice, affidavit of expenditures, nondisclosure affidavits, criminal background check, and Indian Child Welfare Act Notice.
Once the Judge approves all the paper work the process is near complete. The court will schedule a final hearing. At this hearing the petitioner will be asked certain statutory questions. The court will ensure that a complete and accurate record is made of the proceedings. The Court then decrees that the petitioner possesses all of the rights and is charged with all of the obligations as the natural or biological parent of the minor child(ren). Once final its as if the child is born as yours. This even includes sharing in your estate if you die
Step Parent Adoption Attorney in Tulsa
Step parent adoptions involve all sorts of complexities. Unlike other family law issues that deal with only two parents in this kind of case it involves three. If the matter is agreed its easier if not its more difficult depending on the facts. Either way most step parent adoptions are done by attorneys who do just that kind of thing. If you’ve got questions give us a call and get a free consultation.