Adoption is a wonderful legal process that can bring your new family together. By adopting your new spouse’s children, you can establish a formal connection that promotes emotional security and stability. Once the adoption process is complete, you will have the same parental rights and obligations as a birth parent. However, the consent of both biological parents is needed for the adoption to occur.
In Oklahoma, there are quite a few interesting laws and regulations regarding stepparent adoption. If you’re interested in starting this process, contact the Norman adoption attorney at the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. We can assist through each step of this process and help you navigate any unforeseen contingencies.
Per state law, only single or married persons over the age of 21 can adopt a child. A stepparent also has to wait one year after the wedding before starting the adopting process. This gives the parent and child time to adjust to living together and proves to the court that the marriage is stable. The court always makes its determinations based on the best interests of the child, and will never consent to an adoption that may cause emotional or physical harm to the child in the future. Luckily, when a stepparent is married to a biological parent, the overall “Related Adoption” process is relatively streamlined because it doesn’t require long waiting periods or home studies.
The first step in the adoption process is completing and filing the necessary adoption forms for each child you intend to adopt. These forms can be filed in the court located in the county of your residence.
The second step is receiving consent from both biological parents and any children over the age of 12. A Related Adoption terminates the parental rights of a biological parent, which may impact a noncustodial parent’s court-ordered visitation rights. For this reason, many biological parents aren’t willing to give up their legal parental rights. You do, however, have options even if the biological parent refuses to terminate their parental rights.
You can adopt a child without the noncustodial parent’s consent under the following conditions:
- The biological parent has abandoned the child
- The biological parent failed to maintain a relationship with the child
- The biological parent is an unfit parent
- The biological parent never established paternity
- The biological parent failed to pay child support
This is a very complicated issue that often requires the guidance of a legal representative. At the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., we can help you develop an effective argument and present it to the court on your behalf.
Once the adoption process is complete, the birth certificates of your children are changed to reflect that you’re now their legal parent. The original records are sealed away and can only be accessed with a court order.
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In an ideal world, this legal process would be straightforward and ultimately benefit the child. However, any issues involving custody tend to be emotional rather than logical, and stepparents often hit legal obstructions because of a biological parent or some unforeseen circumstance. At the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., our Norman adoption attorney can guide you through each step of the adoption process and help your family achieve a positive case outcome.
Contact the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. at (866) 590-8173 to schedule a meeting.