Stepparent adoptions can be incredibly exciting for new, blended families, and they offer the opportunity to create a more formal, and sometimes even tighter bond, between a stepparent and child. Stepparent adoptions in the state of Oklahoma, however, revolve around some important laws and information of which might not be readily apparent to stepparents.
Due to these various laws and the desire of families to make sure that an adoption is successfully completed, families in Oklahoma often turn to the skill and experience of a seasoned family law attorney when performing a stepparent adoption. This article will discuss some of the essential information about stepparent adoptions for interested individuals in the state of Oklahoma.
Requirements & Duration
In order for a stepparent to adopt the child or children of their spouse, he or she must have been married to the biological parent for at least one year. Known in Oklahoma as a “Related Adoption,” a stepparent adoption is a much more streamlined process than other types of adoption that generally include requirements like home studies, long waiting periods, and more.
Assuming that all requirements can be easily satisfied, a stepparent adoption can often be completed in around forty five days. Adoptions, however, can take a significantly longer time if it takes an extended duration to fulfill all requirements to perform the adoption.
The Parent-Child Relationship That Is Created
In the eyes of the law, stepparent adoptions make a stepparent the child’s new parent and guardian. Once the adoption process is completed, the stepparent gains the same rights and responsibilities as if the stepparent were a biological parent of the child.
Termination Of Existing Parental Rights
Both of a child’s biological parents must consent to a stepparent adoption. In the state of Oklahoma, the child’s other biological parent must agree to terminate their parental rights in order for the adoption to occur. Sometimes, contacting the other parent can prove to be quite a substantial obstacle if it is unknown where the other parent lived. Additionally, they may not willfully agree to give up their parental rights, even if they have not been present in the child’s life. A knowledgeable family lawyer, however, will be able to walk you through your options when such situations occur.
Exceptions To The Consent Requirement
If the other biological parent’s consent cannot be obtained, individuals can still pursue a stepparent adoption by seeking to have the other biological parent’s rights terminated in court. A termination of parental rights may be possible if the parent has abandoned the child, failed to maintain a positive relationship with the child in 12 of the last 14 months, or if they have failed to fulfill other legal obligations to the child such as paying child support.
How An Experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you are interested in performing a stepparent adoption and require a capable and knowledgeable attorney, do not hesitate to contact Hensley Legal Services. We will guide you throughout the process to ensure every step is carried out in full compliance with the law, and we will help defend your interests in cases where a stepparent adoption is disputed by a biological parent. Give us a call today!