Understanding Your Options As A Stepparent
If your spouse has brought children into your marriage, stepparent adoptions will allow you to take on a more official role in the upbringing of the child or children.
If you would like to gain parental rights for your spouse’s kids, the attorneys at Julie Beth Jouben, P.A., in Clearwater can help you understand the legal process and walk you through each step of the way.
Once you become their legal parent, you will have an official say in their upbringing, education, medical care and many other aspects of a healthy parent-child relationship.
Is Consent From The Other Parent Necessary?
Yes, if the other birth or legal parent is living, permission will need to be obtained for stepparent adoptions in Florida. However, there are exclusions. In certain cases, the other parent’s rights may be terminated. Terminations happen in cases where the parent is unfit to handle their parental responsibilities or in which they have violated them. This may include:
- Abandonment of or failure to support the child
- Severe abuse or neglect of the child
- Sexual abuse
- Long-term mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse
- Being convicted of certain felonies
- Mistreating another child
In extreme situations when a parent violates and loses their parental rights, acquiring consent will not be necessary. You will be able to continue through the process of stepparent adoption without this step.
Why Consent May Be Difficult To Obtain
When you seriously begin thinking about a stepparent adoption, you should remember that in cases where the legal or birth parent has not violated their rights, it might be difficult to obtain consent.
Why are some people hesitant to give their consent? The reasons vary, but many do not want to relinquish the relationship they have with their child. Although for some parents, giving consent may be the best choice because it frees them from the responsibilities to support their child. This includes child support, which many are relieved to no longer have to provide. Once they no longer hold legal responsibility, they give up all of their rights to the child or children in question. This includes:
- Their visitation rights
- Rights over the child’s education
- The right to make medical decisions
Needless to say, for a birth or legal parent in Clearwater, giving consent for stepparent adoptions is a huge deal. When they give you permission, they are signing their child over to you and completely altering what they have a right to in the relationship. Ceding parental rights may be emotionally and psychologically difficult for both the parent and the child, and in most cases, reversing parental rights is not an option.
However, if your situation makes it necessary for you to obtain rights, or if doing so is in the best interest of the child, do not give up hope. We are here to be your strongest advocate.
What To Consider With Stepparent Adoptions
The judges in the greater Tampa Bay area will primarily be concerned with your child’s best interest. If stepparent adoptions are found to be beneficial for the child for reasons that may include health, safety and other physical conditions, then you have a good chance of successfully completing the process. The most challenging aspect in such cases occurs when the legal parent does not wish to give consent.
In cases when consent is freely given, this form of adoption can be made much quicker than other types because the marriage of the parent and stepparent has already established a relationship between the new spouse and child.
Don’t Wait Any Longer; Call Today
Give Julie Beth Jouben, P.A. a call so that we can discuss your situation. Attempting to settle these issues through mediation, outside of court, is always the first step, but we will fight for you if it is necessary. You can reach our office in Clearwater by calling 727-614-0070. You can also fill out this contact form.