Can I Adopt my Stepchild in New Jersey?

Divorce is very common. As a result, families grow and change through new marriages. Many children find themselves with stepparents and stepsiblings. In some cases, a stepparent may adopt his or her stepchild. This can be a difficult process, so if you are interested in adopting your stepchild, you will need the help of a skilled family law attorney. Read on to learn more about stepparent adoption in New Jersey.

Why do Stepparent Adoptions Occur?

Every family is different, so every stepparent will have different reasons for wanting to adopt his or her stepchild. Sometimes, a stepparent may adopt a stepchild if the child’s biological parent is incarcerated or institutionalized. Additionally, adopting a stepchild gives the stepparent rights that he or she would not otherwise have. For example, he will be able to make important decisions on behalf of the stepchild regarding medical care, school, religion, and more. But, stepparent adoptions can be difficult.

Terminating Parental Rights

In order for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild, the non-custodial parent’s rights must be terminated. There are a few ways for this to occur. In some cases, the parent will give permission to have his or her rights terminated. In the event that he will not give permission, a court can terminate his parental rights, but this does not happen often. In fact, parental rights will really only be terminated if evidence of abuse or neglect is found.

What Does the Process Entail?

In the event that you are able to adopt your stepchild, you will have to go through an adoption process. You will want to retain the help of a family law attorney. The adoption process will likely involve 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 questions or concerns about your rights as a stepparent, contact our firm today to discuss your options with a skilled family law attorney. We are here to walk you through all of your family law matters.

Contact our Firm

We understand that those getting a divorce most likely have several questions regarding the weeks and months to come. Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC is honored to serve the people of New Jersey, including Sparta, Sussex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Bergen County with the quality legal services they deserve. If you are getting a divorce or have any other questions regarding divorce-related matters, please do not hesitate to contact our firm for a consultation today.