You Love Your Step-Children. Now, Adopt Them.
When you married your spouse, you knew that their children from a previous relationship would be part of your life forever. Now, you want to formalize this relationship by legally adopting them.
The Pennsylvania legal system does not consider step-parents the legal guardians of their step-children, until adoption. At Topinka Law, we help stepparents in the State College area cement their families by adopting their spouse’s children. We will guide you through the legal steps, working tirelessly to reach your goal: adoption.
What Is Adoption Like For Step-Parents?
As a stepmother or stepfather, you will undergo a different adoption process than adults who adopt internationally or from the foster system.
- Termination of parental rights
If the child’s other parent still has legal custody, then the court must hold a hearing to terminate their parental rights. The termination of parental rights happens only in severe circumstances of neglect or abuse, or if the parent voluntarily terminates their rights.
- Petition the court
Then, you can file a step-parent adoption petition with the court. Step-parent adoptions do not usually require home studies, but you must complete and submit several complex legal forms.
- Adoption hearing
You, your spouse and your attorney will attend a second court hearing to finalize the adoption. Once this step is complete, you will be your step-children’s legal mother or father.
Why You Need An Attorney For Adoptions
Adoption is not as simple as filing a few forms. Bureaucratic red tape, legal loopholes or even simple mistakes can quickly derail even the most straightforward adoption. A family law attorney in Pennsylvania who has experience with step-parent adoptions can help you understand the legal system, meet every deadline and prepare for a successful adoption hearing.
Take The First Step To Adopt Your Step-Children
Working with Topinka Law is the first step to a successful adoption. If you are considering adopting your step-son or step-daughter, contact (NAP law) today. You can send our firm an email or reach us in State College at 814-954-1169.