Stepparent Adoption

Step Parent Adoption In Ohio

Adopt a Stepchild

Step parent adoption can have a profound impact on your family’s life. It can be a wonderful way to strengthen your family’s bond as well as provide emotional and legal security to all involved. At Taneff Law, we recognize the importance of a loving and stable environment for children, and we’re dedicated to helping families in Ohio navigate the complexities of adoption with ease. Our team is here to guide and support you every step of the way. Contact us to learn more.

Understanding Stepparent Adoption

In a stepparent adoption, a stepmother or stepfather becomes the legal parent of their stepchild. The stepparent assumes all parental rights and responsibilities over the child of their spouse, just like a biological parent. The court typically grants this type of adoption when it is in the child’s best interests. Understanding the legal framework and requirements of adoption in Ohio is crucial before embarking on this heartwarming journey.

Eligibility and Requirements from Ohio Adoption Code

Chapter 3107 of the Ohio Revised Code provides extensive information about Ohio adoptions, including who may adopt (section 3107.03, division A through D). To initiate the adoption process, certain eligibility criteria and legal requirements must be met. In Ohio, the step parent and the biological parent must be legally married, as Ohio does not permit step parent adoption for unmarried couples. A stepparent who wants to adopt their stepchild is also subject to a background check, and a home study is conducted to assess the family’s suitability for adoption. The legal parents of the minor to be adopted must consent to the adoption, unless excused by law. If the child is over the age of 12, they must consent to the adoption, too.

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Benefits of Stepparent Adoption

Stepparent adoptions offer a variety of benefits to the stepparent and other members of the family. Through adoption, the stepparent gains the same legal rights as if they were the birth parent of the child. This means they are legally responsible for the child’s well-being and can make medical and educational decisions for them. It’s important to remember that adoption is permanent. If the parent and stepparent divorce, the stepparent must pay child support and may seek visitation or custody of the child.

When the adoption is finalized, the legal rights of the other natural parent (the one who is not married to the stepparent) are terminated. The “other” parent is no longer obligated to support the child and does not have the legal right to visit the child.

The adopted child gains the same legal rights and protections as a biological child, ensuring they are eligible for benefits such as inheritance, medical coverage, and child support from the adoptive stepparent. The adopted child may also choose to change their last name.

Adoption can promote a sense of stability and permanence for the child and foster a deeper connection with their step parent. This can strengthen the emotional bonds within your family and provide peace of mind.

What to Expect During the Adoption Process

The adoption process includes a variety of steps. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through them alone. The team at Taneff Law will guide you through the process and answer any questions you have along the way. We’ll even represent you in court, assist with issues gaining consent from the other natural parent, and more. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your unique situation and assess your eligibility to adopt.

Filing the Petition in Court

To officially start the adoption process, you’ll file a Petition for Adoption with the probate court. This includes filing legal documents with information about the step parent (“petitioner”) and the minor child. Depending on the Ohio county you’re in, additional documents may be needed. Some counties require information regarding employment, previous marriages, other children, and military service. Different counties also have different filing fees and procedures. A petition is typically filed in court in the county where the petitioner resides or in the county where the child was born, although there are other options, such as the county where the birth parents live when the filing takes place.

Dedicated to the Child's Best Interest
Ohio Custody Cases

Obtaining Consent

After a Petition for Adoption is filed, the petition is served upon the other natural parent of the stepchild. Both natural parents must consent to the adoption and each parent signs their consent in writing, unless excused by law. If the other natural parent does not give consent, the adoption may still go forward if consent is excused by law. There are exceptions to the consent requirement, which our team will discuss with you during your consultation.

Home Study and Background Checks

To ensure the safety and well-being of the child being adopted, the adoptive parents must undergo background checks and a home study. The probate court assigns an accessor, who performs the home study and reports their findings to the court. If the petitioner is required to provide letters of reference, those letters are turned into the probate court as well. The petitioner must also acquire a medical report from a physician.

Home Study with Stepchild
Ohio Custody Cases

Termination of Parental Rights

If consent is not granted from the other natural parent, we will guide you through the legal process of terminating parental rights, if applicable. This may require legal expertise to navigate successfully.

Finalization Hearing

The adopting parents and the child being adopted must appear at a hearing at the probate court. The child’s natural parents must also be given notice of the hearing. During the hearing, the child, the child’s natural parent, and the petitioner are interviewed. A judge reviews the case and grants the adoption if all requirements are met. The judge may issue a final decree of adoption or a temporary decree, which automatically becomes final after six months. An adoption is very difficult to overturn once it has become final. Our experienced attorneys will represent you in court, advocating for your family’s best interests.

Happy Stepchild with Mother

Work with a Family Law Attorney

If you wish to adopt a stepchild, you must have an attorney represent you in court. At Taneff Law, we have extensive experience in handling step parent adoptions in the state of Ohio. Our compassionate and dedicated legal team provides personalized guidance throughout the entire adoption process. We understand the uniqueness of each family and tailor our approach accordingly. Our attorneys assist with paperwork, preparing and filing all necessary legal documents with accuracy and efficiency. If obtaining consent becomes a challenge, we will navigate the legal process of terminating parental rights, striving for the best possible outcome. We also represent you in court during the finalization hearing, advocating for your family's best interests and ensuring a smooth transition to your new life together.

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Contact Taneff Law

Adoption is a life-changing event that can bring immense joy and security to your family. At Taneff Law, we are committed to making the process as smooth and seamless as possible. Our experienced team of attorneys will be by your side, providing guidance and support throughout the entire experience. Read our blog to learn more about adoption, or contact us at (614) 241-2181 or to learn more about our services and begin your adoption journey in Ohio.

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