Step-parents adopting..... questions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-24-2005, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are there any step-parents here who have adopted their step-kids or birthparents who's spouse has adopted their DC?

I'm looking for some experiences, advice, etc........

What was the situation with the child's natural father/mother?
How long did the process take?
What, if any, roadblocks did you encounter?


I think my partner and I might be interested in doing this and DS's father is willing to cooperate (he's not involved and admits that his "contact" would be damaging to DS, since it would be sporatic at best)

What are some things I should be prepared for or consider about this process?

TIA
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#2 of 8 Old 10-24-2005, 04:57 PM
 
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My husband adopted my daughter when was five. Her birth father did sign off on the adoption, which saved a step, but wasn't necessary since he met the statute for abandonment (a year or no contact in Wisconsin). The entire process took about three months. No major roadblocks except for cost. Several thousand for the process. I have worked in the legal field for several years and my father is a lawyer (not specializing in family law), but we still decided to hire an attorney for the adoption, because it is a difficutl area and you don't want to make mistakes.

Erin
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#3 of 8 Old 10-24-2005, 05:00 PM
 
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For legal reasons, we are not able to do this yet, but this is the plan. SO wants to adopt DD, and DD considers SO her father, 100%. Ex-h (DD's biodad), has not seen her in over a year, and is 'eager' to sign over his rights.

The pp mentioned cost, this is our biggest concern. Can anyone give a ballpark figure? Would this be something we could pay over time, or all at once? (would like to know how much we should be saving now for this)
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#4 of 8 Old 10-24-2005, 05:07 PM
 
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My situation is not exactly like yours, but some of the things likely apply. While we have yet to cross this path, I will be adopting our DC after DW gives birth. In our state, second parent adoptions are the same as step-parent. A couple that I work with recently did this and I have been kept informed of events as they ahve occurred. In addition, DW and I have already been in contact with a lawyer who may handle the adoption. We were told that paternity must be established and then parental rights terminated. For us, this will include receipts from the sperm bank and doctor who will handle the insemination process. For you, your ex will need to establish and sign away all prental rights. At this point, your DH can then petition the courts for adoption. In my state, DW and I neeed to hire a social worker to come into our homes for a homestudy (which is funny to us b/c we are both social workers!). I know that this is required for second- and step-parent adoptions. You may want to check the requiements in your state about the homestudy--they can be costly.

I would strongly suggest hiring a lawyer just to make sure everything goes smoothly and as expected.
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#5 of 8 Old 10-24-2005, 05:10 PM
 
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I just saw your inquiry about cost. The lawyer will handle the adoption for about $2800. This figure includes everything from his time, fees for paperwork, etc. The homestudy will cost us about $1600 from a private agency versus $900 from Department of Family and Children.
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#6 of 8 Old 10-24-2005, 07:04 PM
 
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First thing's first. Get the ex to sign his rights away to you. Don't wait until you can afford the adoption process or he could change his mind or someone could change his mind for him.

My friend had her child's father's rights revoked several years ago. It wasn't until a couple of months ago that her current husband adopted her child.

I thought it was a bit wierd that even though she had sole custody of this child and the father signed his rights away at least 5 years ago, that she had to get permission from the state to allow her husband to adopt her child.

It seemed more difficult than a private adoption.

Get the ex's rights signed away asap. That's your largest obstacle. Larger than money.
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#7 of 8 Old 10-24-2005, 07:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stressedstepmom
First thing's first. Get the ex to sign his rights away to you. Don't wait until you can afford the adoption process or he could change his mind or someone could change his mind for him.

My friend had her child's father's rights revoked several years ago. It wasn't until a couple of months ago that her current husband adopted her child.

I thought it was a bit wierd that even though she had sole custody of this child and the father signed his rights away at least 5 years ago, that she had to get permission from the state to allow her husband to adopt her child.

It seemed more difficult than a private adoption.

Get the ex's rights signed away asap. That's your largest obstacle. Larger than money.
Honestly, I would not go this route AT ALL. This is just how I personally feel, but I do not feel comfortable legally being the only person responsible for my daughter.

God forbid, should something happen in your current relationship, after you've had biodad's rights terminated, that's it, you have NO RIGHT to ANY help from ANYone!

SO and I have agreed it's in my and DD's best interest to switch over rights at the same time, biodad's to his. It's in DD"s best interest to have someone besides me always legally responsible for her. Even though her biodad has NOTHING to do with her now, and wouldn't pay me a dime if it meant staying out of prison, the law is STILL on our side, make sense?

I would really stop and consider what's in YOUR and YOUR CHILD's best interest. Do not just do something like that because it worked well for someone else.
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#8 of 8 Old 10-25-2005, 02:58 AM
 
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Please make sure you check the laws in your state. They vary a bit from state to state. I think some states do not require home studies for stepparent adoptions/some may.... Also, my situation was different but I was given mis information on the law by a social worker and my attorney! Now I know its best to make sure you know what the law is too.
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