Commonly, many individuals marry more than once in their lifetime. As a result, they may have children from previous relationships who gain a step-parent due to remarrying. In most cases, these blended families get along well and grow to love one another as a biological family would. This love often leads to a step-parent and step-child growing close and forming a strong familial bond.
When such a bond forms, you as a step-parent may wish to formally adopt the child as your own. Bringing up such a topic can sometimes bring about mixed emotions, but commonly, family members feel overjoyed at the prospect of legal adoption for step-parents and step-children. However, you could run into issues when it comes to parental consent.
Birth parent consent
In order for you to adopt your step-child, both biological parents must give consent to the adoption. This step could cause considerable issues, as the other parent would lose parental rights to the child after adoption. Therefore, the ease with which you may obtain consent can depend heavily on the type of relationship your step-child and his or her other parent have.
If the relationship does not prove particularly strong, the biological parent may choose to give consent relatively easily. Additionally, because all parental rights would end, that parent would no longer have to pay child support or continue with other related parental obligations. This information could potentially sway a parent to give consent, especially if providing support causes a considerable burden on his or her life.
Circumstances may exist in which you do not have to obtain the other parent's consent. If the court had previously terminated the individual's parental rights due to abandonment, neglect or other actions, the adoption does not require that biological parent's consent.
Of course, the birth parent may choose to deny consent to the adoption, and as a result, you may wonder whether the court could terminate his or her parental rights. This action could prove difficult, but if evidence exists of neglect, abandonment, paternity uncertainty or other proof that the parent does not have the capacity to maintain parental rights, the court could potentially terminate those rights. If this result occurs, your step-parent adoption would not need the other parent's approval.
Due to the potential issues such an adoption could face and the necessary procedures you need to go through in order to complete the adoption, you may wish to consult with an experienced Kansas attorney to help you along your journey.