Stepparent adoptions are common when one of the parents has been absent in the child’s life, and the child’s stepparent has taken the role of a parent and wants to make it official. If this is the case, an action to terminate the parental rights of the absent parent must be concluded before an adoption can be made.
The absent parent must be formally served with the Petition to Terminate Parental Rights. After service, the absent parent must either contest the action or agree to it. If the action is contested, the Judge will decide at trial. If the action is not contested, the absent parent can file an affidavit agreeing to terminate their right as a parent to the child.
What if a parent passes away and the other parent’s spouse wants to adopt?
If a parent has passed away, the other parent’s spouse may initiate an action for adoption without having to terminate the other parent’s right. The process will be the same; except, the deceased parent’s death certificate must be filed with the Petition for Adoption.
A child’s right to inherit from that deceased parent is unaffected by adoption by the new spouse of the surviving parent.
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