Kansas residents generally have the ability to become the legal parent of their spouse's children. If the adoption becomes official, a stepparent is now legally and financially responsible for the child he or she adopted. The current noncustodial parent is no longer responsible for paying child support or otherwise obligated to provide for a son or daughter.
In some cases, this type of adoption is eligible for an expedited process. This means that there is no need for a home study, but other requirements may apply in a given case. Depending on the circumstances of the adoption, the consent of the noncustodial parent may be necessary. To begin the adoption process, a stepparent should first find out which court will handle the matter. Cases may be heard in family court or juvenile court, and the court clerk can usually provide a stepparent with information about the adoption process.
The next steps are to fill out and submit required paperwork. Once the paperwork has been received, a hearing date will be schedule. The stepparent is required to be at the hearing where the judge will gather information needed to make a final ruling. If the adoption is approved, it will be made official at a second hearing. An adoption certificate will be provided at that hearing, and the new parent can ask for an amended birth certificate.
In an adoption case, the best interests of the child take priority over the wishes of the parents. This may mean that an adoption will occur even if the noncustodial parent doesn't want it to take place. Stepparents who want to adopt their stepchildren may want to work with an attorney throughout the adoption process. This may increase a person's likelihood of having their request approved.