This is the next post in a series of articles on step-parent adoptions in Las Vegas, Nevada. The last post provided an overview of the key topics to be considered when thinking about adopting a step-child. It also stressed the importance of engaging a knowledgeable family lawyer to represent your interests. In this article, I will discuss the impact of adoption on the step-parent and biological parents. If you or a loved one are considering a step-parent adoption and need assistance, call my office today to speak to an attorney.
There are a variety of reasons a step-parent may decide to adopt the child or children of a spouse from a previous marriage. For instance, if the biological parent has not been involved in the child’s life or is unfit for some reason, a blended family may decide to pursue adoption by the step-parent. Often an adoption in this scenario can help solidify the relationship between the step-parent and child. It is imperative to understand, however, that once the adoption is finalized, this is a permanent severance of the biological parent’s rights and the adoptive parent will accept legally all responsibility of a natural parent going forward.
Adoption typically results from the consent of both biological parents. The non-custodial parent may consent willingly to the process. In many cases, consent is given by a biological parent in order to be absolved of the obligation to pay child support. In other cases, however, the birth parent may oppose the adoption and refuse to give consent. Under these circumstances, the parties may be required to litigate a termination of the birth parent’s parental rights. After such a termination, completing the adoption will be a relatively straightforward matter.
It is important for all parties to understand that once finalized, an adoption is a permanent change in legal status. A step-parent adopting a child take on the role of the biological parent in the eyes of the law. This means that he will be equally responsible for the care and support of the child going forward. These obligations are not severed by a divorce. If, for instance, the natural mother and stepfather get divorced following an adoption, the stepfather will share in the obligation to support the child financially. This includes the potential for paying child support, medical expenses, and other financial obligations. In addition, the step-parent will have visitation rights with the adopted child following a divorce.
As you weigh this life-changing decision, it is essential to understand the potential impact on your rights and responsibilities in the future. Experienced family law counsel can explain the legal consequences of adoption and help you navigate the legal process. Call my office today to speak to a Las Vegas adoption attorney.