A stepparent adoption can give a child you love the support of two parents. The stronger the bond with your stepchild, the more important it may feel for you to protect your relationship, even in the event of a divorce or the death of your spouse.
A stepparent adoption helps ensure that nothing that happens in your family will sever the relationship with your stepchild. It is a strong commitment to the child beyond your marriage to their parent. You probably already realize that your spouse will need to agree to the adoption and that you will have to petition the Indiana courts to officially become a legal parent.
In many cases, the other biological parent of the child also has to consent to the adoption. You typically have to have them sign a special form before you can move forward with the adoption. Is the approval of your spouse’s ex ever not required for an Indiana stepparent adoption?
Not all parents fulfill their parental obligations
Parents sometimes abandon their children by failing to provide them with financial support or by moving away and failing to communicate with the children. If someone has left their child in another’s custody, that behavior impacts parental rights.
In cases of complete abandonment, stepparent adoption can take place without the permission of the parent. If a parent has abandoned the child for six months or longer or has left them in another person’s custody for a year or longer without communication or financial support, their consent is not necessary for a stepparent adoption.
Indiana law also allows you to forgo parental permission if the state has terminated their rights or found them to be mentally incompetent. The consent of a father is not necessary for a stepparent adoption if the conception of the child was the result of an act of sexual violence or incest. Finally, unmarried fathers who failed to establish paternity will not need to provide permission for a stepparent adoption.
Having everyone cooperate is often best for the child
Ideally, there will be no contention or disagreement around a stepparent adoption. After all, the stepparent can provide financial assistance and loving support to a child who has frequently only had one parent to depend on in their life.
Talking with your spouse about the adoption and then considering your circumstances can help you decide if stepparent adoption is right and what steps you should take next.