You love your spouse and their child with all your heart. In fact, nothing would make you happier than to make your stepchild your own, so that you can have all the same rights and responsibilities toward them as your spouse.
You know that they’ve been through a tough time as a child, and you want to make sure that they know that you’re always going to be there for them. What do you need to do to adopt, and is it something that you will be able to do?
First, determine if you need consent from the biological father or mother
The first step for a stepchild adoption is to decide if you need approval from the biological mother or father of the child. You’re married to one of the parents, but the other parent may still have parental rights. If they have already been stripped of their rights, then you may only need your spouse’s approval to apply for the adoption. If the other parent is part of your child’s life, then they may give you permission or decide that they don’t want the adoption to go forward. Generally, the biological parent will need to give up their parental rights if you are to adopt their child.
Next, get a home study
Though your child has been with you all this time, it’s important to know that a home study will be required. A home study is required for all adoptions in Ohio, no matter what kind it is.
Make sure your attorney is on board
You should also make sure that your attorney is on board early on in this process. Many counties in Ohio do require representation by an attorney when you pursue a stepparent adoption. Since your case may cross county lines or might fall into different jurisdictions, it’s smart to speak with your attorney before moving forward.
Will you have to go to court for a stepparent adoption?
Yes. There will be times when you need to appear in court and when your child will need to appear. It’s important that you are prepared for any hearings that take place in family court in advance, so that you have the right information and documents prepared for the judge.
A stepparent adoption can be an amazing step for a family. If you’re considering it, make sure you speak with your attorney and get the process started.