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Effect of Stepparent Adoptions

By July 8, 2014January 4th, 2016No Comments4 min read

Stepchild Adoption and the Effect of an Adoption Order

If either your partner, or yourself have children from a previous marriage or relationship that currently live with you, you are already part of a step-family. Much of the time, when a stepparent is living with a child, taking complete responsibility for them on a daily basis, they feel the desire to acknowledge their relationship with that child on a more formal level through the process of adoption.

As the partner of the child’s natural parent, a stepparent has the right to apply to adopt that child and the process that you engage in will depend on what is best for yourself, and your family.

What is an Adoption Order in San Diego?

In order for a stepparent to adopt their partner’s child, the legal relationship between that child and their other natural parent must be ended, along with any legal relationship with that side of the family’s extended family network, such as grandparents and aunts. This can be a particularly difficult part of the process, since some children feel as though they are being given the choice to decide between which adults are their favorite, and they may later blame the stepparent for this if they feel they are pushed to hastily into the wrong decision.  As the stepparent, you have the right to allow the child to maintain a relationship with their extended family.  This decision should be made in the best interest of the child, if the child has a great relationship with grandparents it would be detrimental to just deny them the right once the parental rights with the biological parent has been terminated.

One important note to remember, once the adoption process is complete the child loses their inheritance and maintenance rights from the other parent, giving you complete responsibility over them. You may decide whether you would like to change their surname which can be done through the adoption process,  and your stepchild will walk out of the adoption hearing with your name and as your legal child. Even if you and your partner go through a divorce, you will still be the legal parent of his or her child.  The adoption is not terminated or revoked just because the marital status is terminated.  You are officially the parent of that child once the adoption is granted!

What is a Parental Responsibility Order or an Agreement?

There are alternatives to the adoption order, such as the PR order or agreement, which enables a step-parent to gain responsibility for their step-child by court order or agreement if they have become the partner of the child’s parent. If someone’s wife or husband is the only person with parental responsibility for the child, they can formally agree to share that responsibility with you, however, if the child’s other parent also has parental responsibility, they must agree to this share, also.  This may be a great alternative to giving rights where rights cannot be obtained since there are already two parents caring for the child.

What is a Residence Order?

This kind of order names the individual that the child is going to live with on a daily basis. If one of the people named on this order does not have parental responsibility already, the order should give it to that person, allowing them to share parental responsibility with the child’s parents, without giving them the same exact rights.

In this particular case, neither the step-parent nor the parent will be allowed to take the child away from the country of residence for more than a month without permission from the court, nor will they be able to change their surname. With a residence order, a step-parent cannot decide on a guardian to care for a child should they die, and in effect, the order will give you some form of security and stability, but without the permanence, an adoption order allows.

 Minella Law Group Can Help!

If you need assistance with your stepparent adoption, the qualified staff at Minella Law Group can assist you.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, click the button below, or call us at (619) 289-7948. We look forward to helping you.

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