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Who needs to consent to stepparent adoption?

A stepparent may want to adopt his or her stepchild and make the child one's own. However, in order for this adoption to move forward, the stepparent needs to gain consent from both biological parents.

Let's say, for example, that a man gets married to a woman with two children. He bonds so closely with the children that he sees them as his own and he hopes to repay their love with the lifetime commitment of being a father to the children, and his wife agrees. In this scenario, the stepparent will need to ask the biological father for consent. In other words, the biological father needs to agree to the adoption.

In many cases, there is no problem and the biological father will see the value in allowing the stepparent to adopt. In other cases, the biological father might object. If the biological father objects, there might not be a lot that the stepparent can do.

Strategies for adopting without the biological parent's consent

Without the biological father's consent to the adoption, the stepfather and his wife (the mother of the children) might try to strip the biological father of his parental rights. If the biological father has a history of drug abuse, domestic violence or some kind of criminal behavior, for example, it might be possible to show that the biological father is unfit to serve as a parent.

Alternatively, maybe the biological father abandoned the children. By abandoned, this means that the father was never present in the children's lives and never contributed financially to the children's rearing and care. By showing abandonment, this may be another avenue that the stepparent could adopt without consent.

Need help with a stepparent adoption?

The adoption process can be complicated and confusing to navigate no matter who the child is. If you hope to adopt your stepchild in Florida, a Florida family law attorney with experience handling adoption cases will be of tremendous service to your needs.

Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, "Stepparent Adoption," accessed June 02, 2017

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