Why Stepparent Adoption Makes Sense

Bonds between stepparents and stepchildren can become as emotionally strong as the relationships the children have with their birth parents. Stepparent adoption is a common way to formalize that relationship.

At Herrin & Leach in Indianapolis, our attorneys help step-parents take the step of legally adopting step-child(ren). Formal adoption ensures a child has access to benefits and is protected from potential adverse consequences in the event of the untimely death of a biological parent.

Starting The Process

If you wish to adopt the child of your spouse, the parental rights of the child's other legal parent must be terminated. If the other parent is unwilling to voluntarily terminate his or her rights or if the other parent cannot be located, it is possible to petition the court to terminate that parent's rights to clear the way for a stepparent adoption.

There are several situations where consent may not be required and the prospective adoptive parent may still be able to proceed. These include if the noncustodial legal parent:

  • Has abandoned the child

  • Failed to support and/or communicate with the child for the requisite time period

  • Is unfit (referred to as a contested adoption).

If contested, a stepparent adoption can become more challenging, but it provides the security a child needs and is often worth the effort. If it is uncontested, a stepparent adoption can occur within a matter of months.

Formalize Your Bond And Provide Security

If anything happens to the biological parent, it could mean that a parent who has been out of the picture for years has more legal rights than a stepparent. Do not let this happen.

Take the first step toward adoption to formalize your growing bond with stepchildren. Call 317-566-2174 or send us an email for answers to your questions and a recommendation from one of our lawyers on the best steps to take.