Attorney and Counselor at Law

Law Office of Jeffery S. Brown

Step-Parent Adoption

Step-Parent Adoption is when a step-parent wishes to adopt their step-child and is able to do so because the natural parents consent or because it is unnecessary.

Adoption creates a relationship between the adopting step-parent and the child that is the same as if the child was born to the step-parent.  The legal relationship between the child and the other natural parent (the one not married to the adopting step-parent) is terminated.

A step-parent adoption takes place at the Court of Common Pleas in one of the following:

1) the county where the child lives, 2) the county where the step-parent seeking to adopt lives, 3) the county where the natural parent lives.

In order to start the adoption process, the step-parent must file a Petition for Adoption.  Both natural parents must consent in order for the adoption to take place.  If both natural parents do not agree to the adoption, the adoption cannot take place.  However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Consent is not needed of the other natural parent when the other parent has failed to communicate with the child without just cause or failed to support the child financially, for one year or more before the adoption petition was filed.

A decree of adoption is permanent.  In the event of a divorce, the adopting step-parent will be responsible for child support and is qualified to seek custody and/or visitation. The child is also eligible to inherit through the adopting step-parent.  In cases where the child is adopted by his or her step-father, the child's last name can be changed to the step-father's last name. Following an adoption, a new birth certificate is issued for the child, recording any change in last name and listing the adopting step-parent as the child's natural parent.

To learn more about step-parent adoption, contact us today. 440-322-5522