Divorce is incredibly common in today’s day and age. Because divorce is so common, remarriage is extremely common as well. As a result, families grow and change often. For example, stepparents and stepsiblings may be introduced to the mix. While this can be a difficult adjustment for some families, it can be an exciting event for others. In fact, some stepparents choose to legally adopt their stepchildren. But, this is not always easy to do. In reality, stepparent adoptions can be difficult. If you are a stepparent interested in adopting your stepchild, read on for more information about the process.
When do Stepparent Adoptions Occur?
Unfortunately, in New Jersey, stepparents do not have many rights when it comes to their stepchildren. In some cases, a stepparent can legally adopt his or her stepchild, but there are a limited number of ways to do so. A stepparent may adopt his or her stepchild if the non-custodial parent gives permission. The adoption may also occur if the other biological parent has his or her parental rights terminated. This termination really only occurs if there is evidence of abuse or neglect. But, even in cases like this, it is very important that any stepparent should be aware that New Jersey courts will almost always prefer that a blood relative be the custodian of a child, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle.
It is important to keep in mind that even if you are unable to legally adopt your stepchild, you can still have an incredibly strong bond with him or her, and step-families are just as valid as biological families.
What Does a Stepparent Adoption Entail?
If you are able to adopt your stepchild, you will have to go through an adoption process. This will likely entail a background check. Additionally, there will be an adoption hearing. When the adoption is complete, the law views the stepparent as the biological and legal parent of the stepchild, with the same parental rights and obligations of any biological parent.
If you are interested in adopting your stepchild, or you have any other questions regarding adoption in New Jersey, contact our firm today to speak with a passionate and dedicated family law attorney. We understand the difficulties you may be facing and we are here to advocate for you every step of the way.
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