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Step-Parent Adoption: When He Wants to Adopt your Child

Before and after the marriage to a spouse with a child, a man may like to step into the role of parent. In the United States to be eligible to adopt as a step-parent, he must be eighteen years of age or above and presently be married to a consenting biological or adoptive parent. Also, both biological parents must consent or if there is a contestment--the non-consenting parental rights must have been terminated.

If you are the biological mother there are several important considerations with him following through on the step-parent adoption, but here are the two most important:

Consent. - The easiest way to step-parent adoption is when the biological parents consent to the adoption. This occurs when an absentee parent terminates his parental rights thus ending his child support obligation.

Under the law, both the custodial and non-custodial biological parents need to sign documents consenting to adoption by the step-parent and waiving further notice of the proceedings. The petitioning step parent submits to the court a Petition of adoption along with a request for the Court to waive any home study. A Judge may or may not require a home study. This depends solely on the discretion of the judge.

Termination of Parental Rights. The termination of parental rights is an activity that terminates the biological parent(s) rights to parent including any custodial and visitation rights and responsibilities.

Parental rights can be terminated voluntarily or involuntarily. A voluntary termination involves both parents agreeing, while an involuntary termination occurs without either or one parent's consent.

A consent to adoption must comply with state requirements. After a "decree of adoption" is entered, the biological parent(s) is relieved of all parental responsibilities (including being required to pay child support).

Claire Lee, SearchMothers.com contributing writer

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