For many same-sex couples, a second-parent adoption is the only option for both parents to have legally recognized rights to the child. When same-sex couples co-parent, the legal parent is often the one with the biological connection to the child. A second-parent adoption allows the parent who is not biologically related to the child to adopt the child.
In this way, the child has two legal parents. An adoptive parent has the same rights and duties as a biological parent including the duty of child support and rights of decision making and time- sharing (custody and visitation).
In order for a second parent to be able to adopt a child, the other third party biological parent must either consent or lose parental rights to the child through court action.
If the same-sex couple marries, then a Stepparent Adoption can be pursued. This option is usually a shorter less expensive process as an adopting stepparent is not required to complete a home study.
If you are not biologically related to your child and have not adopted him/her, then you have no legally recognized rights.
If you and the biological parent separate, without that parent’s permission you will not be allowed to continue parenting the child, making decisions for the child or even the seeing the child. Protect your rights to your child. Contact an Orlando second-parent adoption attorney.
A stepparent adoption is the formal process by which a current spouse who is not the natural parent files a Petition to adopt the child thereby replacing the natural parent and becoming the legal parent with all rights and responsibilities to the child.
Stepparent Adoption, with some exceptions, require that the other third party biological parent consent to the adoption. If that parent is unwilling to consent, the adoption may still proceed if there is clear and convincing evidence supporting termination of that parent’s parental rights.
A judgment terminating parental rights of a biological parent who was entitled to notice and consent must be supported by clear and convincing evidence. Such evidence can include proof that a parent is incapacitated and not likely to return to competency, that the parent has been notified of the proceeding but has failed to answer or appear at the hearing, or that the parent has abandoned the child.
The court may find abandonment in cases where a parent is able to, but fails to provide support for the child, makes little or no effort to communicate with the child, or where that parent’s efforts to provide for or communicate with the child is found to be only marginal. Extended periods of imprisonment for a significant portion of the child’s life or for serious crimes or where the court finds that a continued parent child relationship would be harmful to the child, may lead to a finding of abandonment and form the necessary grounds for termination of that parent’s rights towards the child.
As an adopted parent, you will be able to enjoy the same rights and privileges as a biological or natural parent.
Contact The Law Office of Natalie D. Hall, P.A. for assistance with your stepparent adoption. Serving Orlando, Winter Park, and the surrounding areas.