Families fit so many diverse descriptions now. Many children have closely bonded relationships with their parent’s spouse as if that person was a legal parent. Sometimes families want to formalize this relationship through stepparent adoption. While stepparent adoptions are the most common type of adoption, it is not always the right choice for everyone.
The following are a few frequently asked questions about the important factors to consider regarding stepparent adoption:
Q: Is the other birth parent required to give up their parental rights in stepparent adoption?
A: Yes. A stepparent adoption terminates the parental rights of the other parent. The other parent must relinquish their legal custody, they will lose visitation rights, and their child support obligation ends. Before the adoption can take place, the other parent must give their consent in writing to the adoption.
Q: How does stepparent adoption change the relationship between the child and the stepparent?
A: The stepparent becomes a legal parent to the child. This is a permanent, legal relationship that is independent of the parent’s relationship with their other parent. Tennessee will issue a new birth certificate after the adoption is final, listing the stepparent as a natural parent of the child.
Q: What happens if the birth or legal parent divorces the stepparent in the future?
A: If the child’s original parent and stepparent divorce, the stepparent who has become a legal parent, will be able to pursue custody and visitation and they will be obligated to pay child support.
Q: What rights does a stepparent have once the adoption is final?
A: Stepparent adoption bestows all the same rights a natural parent would have. The stepparent will have legal and physical custody of the child, they will be able to make legal, medical, religious and educational decisions on behalf of the child
Does a child over age 14 have a say in the stepparent adoption process?
A: Yes. In Tennessee, if a child is age 14 or older, they must consent to the adoption in writing before it will be approved. Children under age 14 will meet privately with the judge so that the judge can gauge the child’s feeling about the adoption.
If you have questions of your own about the stepparent adoption process, a Knoxville family law attorney is ready to schedule a consultation to discuss your case today.
At LaFevor & Slaughter, we are familiar with stepparent adoption process. We love to process of helping clients expand their families through adoption. You may consult with a Knoxville stepparent adoption attorney now. We invite you to call 865-272-4454. You can also schedule an appointment by completing our contact form now.