Adoption is a wonderful step for many Alabama families, and in many situations, it is a way to legally establish a relationship that is already strong and meaningful. For example, a stepparent may be especially close with the children of his or her spouse, and it may make sense to move forward with adopting the stepchildren. Even if every member of the family wants this, there are still certain challenges involved with stepparent adoption.
If you want to adopt your stepchildren, there are specific things you’ll have to do. The most complex is the termination of parental rights. The other biological parent still has a right to have a say in the lives of his or her children, and he or she may not want to give that up. It can also be complicated in cases where the other parent is absent. Regardless, you will find it beneficial to have help as you pursue this goal.
As you can imagine, making the choice to terminate parental rights is not simple. It is possible that the other parent refuses this and wants to retain rights. This is the right of a biological parent, unless there are certain factors that could make him or her unfit. Drug addiction, a history of abuse, incarceration, absence from the life of the child and other factors may lead a court to terminate the rights of the other parent.
It is easier to accomplish this in cases where the other parent is simply not present in the life of the child. The court may also conduct something called a fitness hearing, during which it will look at the other parent’s fitness and the role he or she has in the life of the child. With the legalization of same-sex marriage, it is now possible for these couples to follow the same procedures regarding stepparent adoption.
Accomplishing your family law goals
If you wish to adopt your stepchildren, you will find that a thorough assessment of the situation will help you understand the options available to you. Stepparent adoption can be a worthwhile yet challenging process, but you do not have to walk through it alone. There is significant benefit in working with an experienced family law attorney as you pursue your specific family law goals.