Do stepparent adoptions require consent?

| Sep 20, 2019 | Adoption

A stepparent adoption may be a perfect way to help New York families blend. After a divorce and remarriage, the family dynamic changes. Most parents hope that these changes are for the better. The best-case scenario is for your children to bond with their stepparent. Some stepparents decide to adopt their stepchildren; this is particularly beneficial if the birth parent is not in the picture. This does not mean that a stepparent can automatically adopt a child, however.

The other birth parent has to agree to the stepparent adoption. Now, if there is no other birth parent or if that parent has had his or her rights terminated, then naturally, you do not need consent. In other instances, the biological parent has rights.

If the parent voluntarily surrenders his or her rights, the process moves a lot smoother. Consent can only occur if there is no coercion, force or threats involved. Now, if the other parent refuses to consent, there are other means. Involuntary termination involves terminating the parent’s rights. Now, the court cannot terminate a person’s rights on a whim. There have to be reasons beyond the stepparent wanting to adopt the child.

The reasons include:

  • Mental illness or drug induced incapacity
  • Crime convictions involving children
  • Crime convictions that involve jail time
  • A parent abandoning the child
  • Serious child abuse against the child

Once a parent consents to the adoption, he or she cannot revoke the consent. This is a binding agreement. However, a parent may have up to 45 days to revoke his or her consent.

The above information is intended to be informational and should not be interpreted as legal advice.