Stepchild Adoption: What If the Other Parent Won’t Consent?

If the other parent will not consent to the adoption of a stepchild, the stepparent could be up against a brick wall — unless it’s possible to terminate the other biological parent’s parental rights.

Terminating a biological parent’s parental rights is not going to be easy. However, if the right circumstances exist, it could be possible. Let’s take a deeper look at this process.

How to terminate a biological parent’s parental rights

There are several ways that you can pursue the termination of the parental rights of a biological parent. These ways involve proving in court that the biological parent is unfit to serve as a parent, abandoned the child, or is not the true biological parent.

Proving abandonment: Proving abandonment can be done if there is evidence that the parent was never involved in the child’s life, never gave financial support, and has not been in communication with the child. In these situations, you might be able to terminate the biological parent’s rights regarding the child.

Proving parental unfitness: To prove unfitness to serve as a parent, you will need to show that the parent has been neglectful, abusive, never visits, suffers from mental disturbances, suffers from addictions, or is currently in jail. Once the parent is proved to be unfit, full custody rights will be transferred to the other parent — who can then grant permission for a stepparent adoption.

Proving that the other parent is not the biological parent: When it comes to a female biological parent, the connection to the child as the mother is — in almost all cases — obviously based on medical records. However, in the case of a father, the connection to the child may be challenged via DNA testing. If a paternity test reveals that the other biological parent is not the father, it might be possible to strip him of his parental rights in certain cases.

Find out your stepparent adoption options

The option for adoption will exist in many stepparent adoption cases, and when the other agree to the process, it will be tremendously easier to move forward with the adoption. As such, the best path to take may simply involve the stepparent proving his or her commitment to the child to the other parent in order to gain his or her acceptance.

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