Children can have strong ties with individuals that are not biologically related to them. In matter where a child is living with a parent and their new spouse, it is easy for the child to look at their new stepparent as something more. For some children, a stepparent has a more significant role than the other biological parent has. Moreover, the child has a stronger relationship and bond with the stepparent. In these situations, it may be in the best interest of the child if a stepparent adopts the child, making them legally his or her parent.
When a stepparent is committed to raising and supporting their spouse’s child, it can put them in a difficult situation. Legally, one is constrained and limited, as they are not the child’s biological parent. In these matters, moving forward with a stepparent adoption may be the best resolution.
Because this process can be complex, emotional and challenging, it is important that one has legal guidance. At Lisa D. Stern, our law firm is committed to helping individuals and families navigate this important yet trying process.
While a biological parent could agree to the stepparent adoption and voluntarily terminate their parental rights, this is not the common outcome. Oftentimes, a stepparent is faced with a contested adoption, meaning that the other parent does not agree with the adoption of their child. These adoptions involve the involuntary termination of the noncustodial parent’s rights. In other words, this involves proving to the court that the other parent’s rights should be terminated despite their objection.
An involuntary termination of parental rights is not taken lightly in the state of Florida, but our law firm is prepared to tackle this matter. The court will assess various factors, including whether the noncustodial parent has failed to provide regular and substantial support for at least two years when he or she has the means to, and whether the noncustodial parent has regularly failed to visit or communicate for the child for at least two years.
Whether a parent has abandoned a child, is battling additions, is abusive or lacks interests in acting as a parent to a child, our law firm can help you navigate the matter. A stepparent adoption is no simple feat; however, it can be successfully completed. While it is a complex and emotional matter, there is a legal process and rights afforded to those that seek to move forward with a stepparent adoption.