Adoption is an incredible thing. Uniting families together and giving a child a loving parent is something to be celebrated. Many people have heard stressful stories about adoption processes, so there are some important things that you should know if you are looking to adopt your stepchild in Oklahoma:
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?
In order to adopt, the stepfather or stepmother must be legally married to the child's biological parent for at least one year. Even if one of the child's parents is their biological mother or father, they, as well as their husband or wife must be present in the adoption process.
Typically, this type of adoption, known as a “Related Adoption,” is a much easier process than that of an “Unrelated Adoption,” where there is no existing relation to the child. An “Unrelated Adoption,” requires much more tedious processes, such as home studies and extended waiting periods.
CONSENT & PARENTAL RIGHTS
Regardless of the type of adoption, consent must be given by the child's biological parents [unless they are no longer living or no longer have parental rights]. Sometimes this can be one of the more complicated steps in the process, as the other biological parent may either out of contact, or unwilling to consent. In some cases, even if the other biological parent has been out of the picture, they still may be uncooperative in giving consent for the adoption. This is a situation where you may need to seek the help of an adoption attorney in Oklahoma City. The good news is, even if the consent cannot be obtained, the adoption is still a possibility. The next step would be to have the unwilling to consent biological parent's rights removed in court. Said right's removal is possible in situations where the parent has either had a lack of a healthy relationship with the child; not kept up with their parental responsibilities [i.e., a lack of financial support]; or have abused, neglected, or abandoned the child. In Oklahoma, if the child is over 12 years of age, they also will be required to sign an adoption consent.
After an adoption takes place, that [former] stepparent is now considered just as relevant [in legal terms] as the child's biological parent. This means that this parent now has the same rights and responsibilities as the child's biological parent.
WHERE DO I FILE?
You will need to file for your stepparent adoption forms at the court located in the county of your residence. If you are in the military, the exception is that you are able to file in your home state of record.
Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it can be a stressful process. If you are in the area and are a stepparent looking to adopt your stepchild, you may need a family law attorney in Norman or in Oklahoma City. Here, at Worden Law Firm, we want to help you unite your family. So please, contact us today, and let us help bring you together.