When a parent with custody of a child remarries, stepparent adoption is a great (and legal) way for the current parents with custody to form a bond with their child. With a stepparent adoption, your husband or wife can assume all the responsibilities of a biological parent and become your child’s legally recognized guardian. At the same time, your child receives the legal and financial security that comes with an involved parent.
- Stepparent adoptions make your spouse your child’s legal parent and guardian. In the eyes of the law, the stepparent is seen no differently than if he or she were the child’s biological parent.
- Both you and the child’s other biological parent must consent to the stepparent adoption. In North Carolina, for the stepparent adoption to occur, your child’s other biological parent must terminate their birth parent’s rights.
- If you don’t know where the other birth parent lives or how to get in contact, don’t give up. The Internet and social media have made it much easier to locate people who have “disappeared.”
- There are exceptions to the requirement for consent. Once the other parent receives formal notice that the stepparent wishes to adopt, they have thirty (30) days to respond. If there is no response, a Clerk of Court will likely determine that their consent is no longer necessary since they failed to respond after being served. You would then be able to proceed with the stepparent adoption.
- If your son or daughter is twelve years old or older, he or she must also agree to the stepparent adoption.
- Once a stepparent adoption is finalized, the biological parent’s child support obligation ends. However, any child support that is owed up to the adoption finalization is still due, unless you choose to forgive the debt.
Speaking with an experienced stepparent adoption attorney is the best way to find out if a stepparent adoption is possible for you. As a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law, I have practiced adoption law in North Carolina for over 25 years. Questions? You can call me at (919) 821-1860 or email me for more information.