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Should I Adopt My Stepchild?

The decision to adopt a stepchild has major implications in a child's life.  Issues include the child's emotional well-being, financial considerations and practical matters. In today's blog post, we'll consider some of these important factors that should be taken into account in deciding whether to adopt.

emotional FACTORS

Adopting a stepchild necessarily involves the termination of the parental rights of the biological parent.  If a child has a relationship with the biological parent, the child may resent the stepparent (and the other parent) for removing the biological parent from his or her life. On the other hand, if the biological parent harms the child, risks harming the child or creates tension or drama, or inflexibility with visitation orders, the child may find great peace in having the stepparent adopt.

financial considerations

Terminating the parental rights of the biological parent necessarily involves the termination of the child support obligation.  However, any child support obligation accruing prior to termination remains an obligation of the biological parent, and is required to be paid post-termination, with 6 percent interest. Some biological parents agree to waive any past due child support as an incentive to convince the other biological parent to voluntarily relinquish parental rights.

PRACTICAL MATTERS

The adoption process involves some costs, including social study fees, amicus attorney fees, court filing fees and attorney's fees.  Often, the parent's whose rights are being terminated voluntarily agrees to bear these costs, because the termination removes any future child support obligation.  The process includes a visit by a social worker and an amicus attorney appointed by the Court to assist in protecting the best interest of the child.  A criminal background check of the adoptive parent is required to be completed.  

If you're considering a stepparent adoption, you should seek legal advice.  A qualified attorney can provide guidance on the important decision to adopt a stepchild.  Christiansen Law Firm assists individuals in making the decision and in pursuing the adoption through completion. The family law attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have extensive experience in adoption proceedings, and can ensure that you are able to complete the adoption in a timely, smooth and efficient manner.  Contact Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio to schedule a free consultation.

 

 

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