Stepparent adoptions are a wonderful thing. They often happen when one of the child’s biological parents are not in the child’s life. Regardless of the reasons, the bottom line is that the stepparent wants to step up and take on the legal responsibilities as the child’s parent. For many children, a stepparent adoption is a happy event that has many positive emotional and mental effects.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the process of a stepparent adoption requires going through legal channels just as any other type of adoption. Because this is a special case where the person adopting the child is in a relationship with one of the child’s parents, some aspects differ from other adoption situations. However, as with any adoption, the law requires ending the rights of the absent parent.
The biological parents of a child have legal responsibilities to care for that child. The state only allows a child to have two legal parents. So, if a stepparent wishes to adopt a child, he or she will need to have a court remove the other parent’s legal rights.
In many cases, there will not be a legal battle terminating parental rights of the absent parent. Many times, the parent will voluntarily give up his or her rights. In a situation like this, the court will only need that parent to sign legal documents. Then, the adoption may proceed.
Sometimes, a parent will not want to give up rights or will not be around to voluntarily do so. The court usually steps in and terminates the rights of the other parent as long as it feels the adoption is in the child’s best interest.
Stepparent adoptions usually do not involve a lot of red tape or delays. They are often relatively easy for the court because they often provide a better life for the child and are something the child wishes to happen.