Step-parent adoption can be a complex situation. If another parent is involved, no matter how active, you may have additional steps you need to complete. Adoption can be a great way to build your family, but it may take some legal expertise to make sure everything works.
If you are thinking about adopting your spouse's child, there are many questions involved. Many of those questions involve financial responsibilities. Here's what you should know before you pursue adoption.
The Other Parent's Rights Are Terminated
In order to adopt your spouse's child, another parent's rights must be terminated. This means that this other parent no longer has visitation or custodial rights. Any obligation due to this child is gone as far as this other parent goes.
Ultimately, you will step in as the new parent. This is more than an emotional bond. It's also a financial and legal one, which is why it is important that you talk to a lawyer about your expectations about becoming a parent.
Terminated Rights Also Terminate Financial Assistance
Keep in mind that when a parent's rights are terminated, so are their financial obligations. They no longer have to make child support payments, for instance. They also do not have to provide health insurance or any other financial means for the child.
This means that you are responsible for providing for your child financially. Even if you divorce your spouse in the future, you are the parent of this child. Legally and financially, you are the individual in charge of supporting your child until he or she turns 18.
Step-Parent Adoption Can Pose Challenges
The adoption process is not necessarily difficult, but terminating the rights of another parent can be. You will need to contact the other parent and ensure that they are aware that you intend to adopt the child. In some cases, the other parent may contest this decision.
This is where hiring a family lawyer can be helpful. When you hire an attorney, you can ensure that your legal bases are covered and you have rights to the child.
Meet With a Family Lawyer
It is important that you discuss your adoption case with a family lawyer. If you are interested in adopting your spouse's child, it is a good idea to speak with a family lawyer who understands your family's situation. You may be able to make the situation easier than you anticipate by speaking with a legal professional.