Beginning the adoption process can seem to be overwhelming and challenging. After all, adoptions are legal procedures that require official paperwork and can often take several months before becoming official. Hiring a knowledgeable family law attorney is vital to your successes during what can be an emotional period. Fabrikant Law Offices will guide you through this process in its entirety, leading you to the end goal of a successful adoption.
There are numerous types of adoption that New Jersey recognizes, including a stepparent adopting their spouse’s child.
What are reasons why my new spouse can adopt my child?
A new marriage can bring forth thoughts regarding making a stepparent the legally adoptive father or mother of your biological child. You may be thinking of doing this for any of the reasons listed below:
- The child’s biological father or mother abandoned the child
- The child’s biological father or mother has not provided any financial support for the child, including paying child support
- The child’s biological father or mother has had no contact with the child
- The child’s biological father or mother abused or neglected the child
- The child’s biological father or mother passed away
You and your spouse will discuss your desires to proceed with the adoption process. After a decision has been made to move forward, a family law attorney can aid in the future tasks that lie ahead for you and your family.
Like all legal proceedings, stepparent/stepchild adoptions can come with a few challenging requirements.
What requirements must be met in order to start the process?
For the adoption process to move as smoothly and quickly as possible, our experienced attorney will fully prepare you ahead of time with a list of required documents needed and stipulations to be met. It is very important to have an organized, fully completed application in order to avoid unwanted delays in the adoption proceeding.
Some requirements which must be met before an adoption can be finalized are:
- Proof showing that the biological parent and the stepparent are legally married
- Background and fingerprint check of the adopting individual
- Completed application submitted to the Court
A Fabrikant Law attorney will walk you through each step to make sure that all information is gathered correctly and fully in order to avoid unwanted delays.
What can cause delays?
The adoption process in New Jersey usually takes several months to complete. There are circumstances, however, that can delay the process even further. Consent of the biological parent is required, so the inability to obtain consent (because they cannot be located or refuse to sign) can become a problem.
Cases involving any of these unique situations will be seen by a judge who will eventually determine an appropriate outcome.
How will the adoption process effect my child emotionally?
All children are different, which means that the adoption process will affect each of them in a different way. If the other biological parent is even somewhat involved in the child’s life, the child might have a hard time accepting the new situation. When a stepparent/stepchild relationship is formalized during the adoption process, the biological parent loses all parental rights to their child. Although, in rare instances, the biological parent may receive very limited visitation rights, most of the time there is no longer any contact whatsoever. This can prove to be a tough separation for the child if they have gotten used to their biological parent being even minimally present in their lives.
The judge will, of course, take the child’s ultimate needs into consideration and will typically consider the parental rights of the biological parent first.
Remember to always keep your children well-informed during the adoption process. This will enable the child to voice their feelings regarding the situation and feel involved.
Contacting our office
Whenever you and your spouse are committed to taking this next step in becoming a family, we will be ready to help you through each new milestone. During your free consultation, we will be able to get to know your unique situation and develop a plan to achieve your goal: becoming a legal parent to a child you already love as your own! We look forward to sharing this beautiful journey with you.