With the ever-rising divorce rate in the United States, combined with the increasing overall amount of marriages, it is becoming more and more common for people to be involved in 2 to 3 marriages in their lifetime. Often times when people remarry they are entering a relationship where their partner already has a child from a previous marriage and in some of those marriages the parent with the child may be raising this child on their own. As the new step-parent and step-child learn more about each other, a relationship starts to blossom and the child may look to this person the same as they would a biological parent.
These situations are becoming more and more common and often leads to step-parents thinking about adopting a stepchild, either for enforceable parental rights or as a symbolic gesture. This can be done, but does require cooperation from all parties involved, including the stepchild’s biological parents.
If you or someone you know is in a situation similar to this and looking to adopt their step-child, contact our family law team here at JacksonWhite right away. We have helped dozens of Arizona families be united with step-family members legally and we want to help you! Give us a call at (480) 467-4348 or fill out a form online.
How to Adopt a Stepchild in Arizona
The very first (and most important) thing that needs to be done is that the biological parent must first relinquish his or her parental rights in order to have a stepparent adopt a child in Arizona. It is important to note that both parents do not have to relinquish their parenting rights, simply the parent that is not involved in the child’s life.
When biological parents consent to this type of adoption, they can voluntarily terminate their parental rights. In extreme circumstances, parental rights can sometimes be involuntary terminated.
The Benefits of Stepchild Adoption in Arizona
When a stepparent adopts a stepchild, this is a strong family connection that can bring combined families even closer. But it’s also a way for the stepparent to receive legal responsibilities of the child just as natural parents would.
After adoption, stepparents have just as much of a financial and personal obligation to care for the child and provide for his or her basic needs. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, so before requesting that the biological parent relinquish his or her rights, the stepparent must weigh the decision carefully.
The Stepchild Adoption Process & Stepparent Rights
Once the decision has been made to adopt a stepchild, the natural parent must complete a “Consent to Adopt” form, and the stepparent and other natural parent must complete a “Petition to Adopt” form. If there are no issues with consent or other requirements, the adoption will be legally granted.
Simplify the Adoption Process
Adopting a stepchild is a complicated process, and though the paperwork may seem simple, it represents a complex legal action that can be easily mismanaged. To avoid complications and simplify the process, you can hire an attorney that specializes in adoption.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.