Bronx Stepparent Adoption
Stepparent adoption is possible when a person legally adopts their spouse’s child. Because the adopter is married to the child’s parent, the child is already living with the adopter, so there is no need for a home visit. Also, there is no long delay before the adoption can be finalized if all is in order. However, it is important that all T’s are crossed and I’s dotted so the adoption goes smoothly, and there are no questions after the adoption is finalized. For this you will want to consult with a good Bronx stepparent adoption lawyer.Termination of Rights of Other Biological Parent
One of the biggest questions in a stepparent adoption, of course, is whether or not the child’s other parent will give up parental rights so the child may be adopted by the stepparent. If the child’s biological parent will not give up parental rights, in most instances that is the end of the story. A biological parent may be understandably reluctant, because when a parent gives up parental rights, they lose all right completely including making decisions about the child’s welfare and even visiting the child.
There are, however, circumstances under which a Bronx court will terminate a parent’s rights, in which case a stepparent may adopt the child. If a parent has abandoned the child or has such little interest in the child that they have not communicated within a minimum of six months or made any attempt to visit, a court may terminate parental rights. If a parent is mentally ill or mentally retarded, a court may also find it is in the child’s best interests to terminate parental rights. Or course, if a biological parent has legally denied paternity in writing, there is no barrier to stepparent adoption.Consent of Older Child
Once a child reaches the age of 14, the court is not only concerned with their opinion, but requires their consent for the stepparent adoption.The Advantages of Stepparent Adoption
When a stepparent adopts, it can help to bring a family closer for a number of reasons. The stepparent gains the complete rights of a biological parent and can make decisions in the child’s life. In the day-to-day, formally adopting your stepchild can make life easier in everything from doctor’s appointments to dealing with the child’s school. There is also a significant financial benefit in being able to add the child to your health insurance.
Should the stepparent’s spouse die, the stepparent keeps all parental rights. There is no danger that grandparents will get custody, unless of course, the stepparent shows themselves to be unfit, which would also be the case for a biological parent. In fact, after adoption, the stepparent’s name can even appear on the child’s birth certificate. As for the child, once the stepparent adopts them, they have all the rights of a biological heir. But in the here and now, adoption can give the child an increased sense of stability, permanence and belonging.Filing a Petition for Stepparent Adoption
To adopt your spouse’s child in the Bronx or anywhere in the state of New York, there are some requirements.
- Marriage: You must be legally married to the child’s parent; you can’t just live with them.
- Residency: If you want to adopt your spouse’s child in the state of New York, you must live in the state for six months before your lawyer files the petition for adoption. You will have to show the court proof of residency; your attorney can advise of the documents you need.
- Your Bronx lawyer must file your stepparent adoption petition in the same county in which you live.
Unless the other biological parent refuses to give up parental rights and opposes the adoption, the hearing is basically just signing the paperwork. Your attorney will have provided the court with needed paperwork in advance of the hearing.Bronx Stepparent Adoption Lawyer
Stepparent adoption need not be difficult, particularly if the child’s other biological parent consents. However, there are significant pitfalls if you are not represented by a good Bronx family lawyer experienced with stepparent adoption. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis& Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients who are seeking to adopt children, who have custody issues, and who have other family law matters. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.