We can not help with an adoption unless you or your spouse are directly related to the child (one of you is the parent, grandparent or sibling of the child you are going to adopt). If you can get the consent and relinquishment of parental rights of one or both parents, you can adopt a child with one court action sometimes referred to as a step parent adoption. The father or mother of the child must sign a form called a consent and relinquishment of parental rights in the presence of a notary and two (2) witnesses. Then you and your spouse (the new parent) sign a Petition.
We will prepare you for the court appearance but we cannot attend the court hearing with you. Family court judges love granting step parent adoptions. We think it is because for a change they are putting a family together instead of taking one apart. After we e-file your Petition for Adoption, we must wait for the judge to sign a order waiving welfare investigation and report. This is automatic when one of the parties’ adopting the child is related to the child by blood. It usually takes approximately two (2) weeks. Then we will schedule the earliest available hearing for you and your family to meet with the judge. These hearings are usually done in the judge’s chambers and are private. The minor child must attend the hearing.
TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS:
If a parent will not consent to an adoption and give up his/her parental rights, you must complete a court action called “termination of parental rights” before the child can be adopted. A petition is filed with the courts explaining the legal reason the parent’s rights should be terminated. Then that parent must be notified of the court date. If he or she does not file paperwork objecting to the termination of his/her rights we will schedule a court date for you to appear before a judge and the judge will enter an order terminating that parent’s rights to the child permanently. Now we can proceed with the adoption process outlined above.
Come in for the free consultation so we can discuss your particular situation and circumstances. Typically in the consultation we cover adoption basics, your particular situation, how to deal with the other parent during the process, and last, but not least, quote you a price and discuss payment options and plans.
IT’S COMPLICATED, BUT WE MAKE THIS STUFF AS SIMPLE AS WE CAN.