Making a Difference: Step Parent Adoption of a Child

The adoption process of a child is a somewhat unique legal process that ultimately aims to place the child in a safe and loving home. No matter the circumstances the ultimate goal is to ensure the child is happy and healthy. With step-parent adoption, a child can get a more secure sense of belonging and feel grounded in their own family. With the resources of Taneff Law at your disposal, we can reduce stressors throughout the adoption process. Learn more about the process of step-parent adoption below and contact our law office for more information on what services Taneff Law can provide for you. 

The Process of Step-Parent Adoption

The process of adoption involves qualifying as a parent, consent from legal guardians, meeting standard requirements, navigating any unknown circumstances, and getting final court approval. With the help of an experienced lawyer, the process is simplified, and navigating the entire proceeding is easier. Child adoption is one of Taneff Law’s specialties and we work with clients every day to help bring children into safe homes. 

Can I Adopt as a Stepparent

Compared to other categories of adoption, step-parent adoptions tend to be more straightforward, however, there is a legal process that must be followed to ensure the adoption is accepted and approved. Typically an adoption would require a home study to be conducted, as well as an official background check of the step-parent. Because a step-parent is more likely to be living in the same household as the child these steps may be waived. Together a step-parent and the legal parent of the child will need to submit an adoption petition which will begin the adoption process. Regardless of the situation, the step-parent and birth parent must still go through standard court proceedings. 

Getting Legal Consent to Adopt

In certain situations a judge may terminate the biological parent’s legal rights, however, this only happens in certain cases like when a child has been abandoned by their parent, the parent is unfit to care for the child or some other extenuating circumstances. In cases where an unfit parent does not consent to the child’s adoption, a judge may terminate their rights and allow the adoption process to begin. Sometimes the child’s consent must be obtained if the child is of a certain age. 

Parent Abandonment

In cases where one of the legal parents has deliberately abandoned their child (i.e. failed to support and/or communicate for (1) year) and does not take into account the child’s welfare and safety, a judge can eliminate their power to consent or object. This is done for the overall well-being of the child. In cases where a parent is no longer providing for their child or has seemingly abandoned them their rights as a parent may be terminated. This process will require a court hearing in order to establish if the parent has truly abandoned the child. When a judge terminates the parent’s legal rights a step-parent will only need consent from the standing legal parent, and the child if they are a certain age. 

Getting Assistance from Qualified Adoption Attorneys 

There are many steps when handling a step-parent adoption, and even if the legal parents fully consent to the child being adopted the standard court proceedings still apply. This is mostly to protect the child and ensure that the adoption is best for the child. Taneff Law has nearly four decades of experience navigating all categories of adoptions and navigating the adoption process for you. This means understanding what is required by law, navigating legal consent and estranged biological parents, and any other extenuating circumstances. Taneff Law provides adoption services for all of Ohio and with our long-time background in Ohio adoption law are committed to serving our clients and helping them navigate the adoption process.

Meeting Adoption Requirements

Adoption requirements will vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case. Generally speaking, step-parent adoption of a child may require consent from any legal parents still involved in the child’s life, as well as consent from the child if they are within a certain age range. Typically the court will require a home study for an adoption to ensure the child will be well taken care of. They also require a background check as a standard procedure in order to ensure the step-parent is fit to parent the child. In Ohio, the step-parent is required to have been married for at minimum one year to the child’s legal parent. Navigating the court proceedings is sometimes overwhelming for parents, especially if complications arise throughout the adoption process. Our team of lawyers assists in this process and will advocate for you throughout the court proceedings. 

Finalizing a Step-Parent Adoption

Thankfully with step-parent adoptions, the proceedings are typically fairly smooth. In most step-parent adoptions the step-parent will have been married to one of the biological parents for over a year, and because they are typically living in the same household this makes the entire process easier. Once the adoption process is started the court will likely order a social worker to make a home visit to observe the family and check on the living conditions. After this, they will schedule a final hearing and if it has gone smoothly they will approve and finalize the adoption. Once the adoption is finalized the court will then officially list the step-parent as a legal parent, which will allow the family to obtain a new birth certificate with updated parents listed.  

Taneff Law Ohio Adoption Services

Taneff Law provides representation across all of Ohio and specializes in several types of law. When working with Taneff lawyers you receive representation from an experienced practicing lawyer. We believe in helping children find safe and loving homes and use our abilities to make the process as smooth as possible. 

We provide services for guardianship, trusts, wills, estate administrations, estate planning, surrogacy, adoption, and more. For adoption law, we handle stepparent, inter-state, foster parent, international, grandparent, single parent, and private adoptions. 

Contact an Ohio State Attorney Through Taneff Law

Taneff Law has handled close to five thousand adoption cases over almost four decades. We work with the parents to help facilitate communication and represent them throughout the entire adoption process. With our expertise in child adoption, we provide a clear path to navigate the process alongside the parents and provide guidance and counsel. If you are a step-parent or legal parent and are beginning the process of step-parent adoption, reach out to us to learn about working with our team. The adoption process can sometimes be convoluted, but with an experienced, professional lawyer we will do our best to reduce stress throughout the process and make every step easier.