A step-parent adoption is a type of independent adoption, where a step-parent adopts the child of their spouse, and the spouse maintains his/her legal rights.
Step-parent adoptions can be sensitive, especially if the other biological/legal parent is still alive. With a step-parent adoption, because the biological/legal parents’ parental rights would be terminated they must be notified and approve of the step-parent’s intent to adopt.
If the biological/legal parent cannot be found or refuses to consent, it is still possible for a court to grant the adoption so long as the biological/legal parent is properly notified of the adoption. In this instance, the biological/legal parent must be notified of the adoption and provided an opportunity to object. If the legal parent does not object the adoption will be granted if it is in the best interest of the child. If a legal parent objects to the adoption, then the outcome is specific to each case. Jennifer has handled dozens of step-parent adoptions in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia including ones contested by the legal parent.
Jennifer represents the step-parents, birth parents or the child (if older than 10 years of age in Maryland or 14 years of age in Virginia or the District of Columbia) in step-parent adoptions. She has handled cases where the natural parent refuses to participate in the case or objects (making it a contested step-parent) as well as consensual cases.