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Can I Adopt My Stepchild in New Jersey? | What to Know

Many people choose to get divorced and later find themselves remarried. If you have children, the person you choose to marry will become a stepparent. Through remarriage, families grow and change in wonderful ways. In some cases, a stepparent will wish to adopt his or her stepchild. But, it is important to know that this can be a difficult process, so if you are interested in adopting your stepchild, you will need to retain the help of a skilled family law attorney. Read on to learn more about stepparent adoption in New Jersey and what the process entails.

Why do Stepparent Adoptions Occur?

In New Jersey, stepparents do not have many rights when it comes to their stepchildren. But, when a stepparent adopts his or her stepchild, he will legally be treated the same way a biological parent would be. This means making important decisions on behalf of your stepchild regarding medical care, school, religion, and more. Sometimes, a stepparent will want to adopt a stepchild because of a biological parent’s incarceration or institutionalization. Unfortunately, stepparent adoptions can be a rather difficult process.

What Does the Process Entail?

A stepparent may only adopt his or her stepchild if the child’s non-custodial parent’s parental rights are terminated. This can occur if the non-custodial parent gives permission. If the parent will not give permission, the rights can be terminated by the court, but this does not happen often. For the most part, parental rights will only be terminated if proof of neglect or abuse is discovered.

If you are able to adopt your stepchild, you will have to go through an adoption process, like any other adoption. This will likely include a background check. Additionally, there will be an adoption hearing. When the adoption is complete, the law views the stepparent as the biological and legal parent of the stepchild, with the same parental rights and obligations of any biological parent.

If you are interested in adopting your stepchild or you have any questions or concerns regarding your parental rights as a stepparent, contact our firm today to speak with a dedicated family law attorney. We are here to walk you through all of your family law matters.

Contact our experienced Ocean City firm

Matters of divorce and family law require the attention and skill of an experienced attorney who will fight for your future. Not only is your financial well-being at stake, but in a divorce, both you and your children’s emotional well-being are at risk as well. If you need a divorce and family law attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC today to schedule a consultation.