When a Step-parent Wants to Adopt, a Family Law Lawyer in Rochester MN Can Help

by | Jun 6, 2018 | Lawyers

A Family Law Lawyer in Rochester MN can assist when a stepparent wants to adopt a child he or she has been living with. When the biological parent is absent, this can be a smooth process. This is true even if the natural parent and stepparent are a same-sex couple, since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriages cannot be prohibited by state. It’s significantly more difficult if the couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, is living together as domestic partners and not married.

Background Check

The step-parent applying for adoption must agree to be fingerprinted and have a background check completed. This background check makes sure the applicant does not have any felony convictions or any incidents of mistreatment of a child on his or her record.

Absent Biological Father

If the absent biological parent is the father, the couple may not even need to have his rights as a parent terminated. The court will typically only rule against this if the father has been involved in the child’s life to any degree, which includes paying some level of support or occasionally being in approved contact with the child. If the father has totally abandoned the child, the adoption should go smoothly.

Absent Biological Mother

When the biological parent is the mother, the court may require finding her if she has essentially disappeared from the family’s life. Then she has the choice of whether to sign the legal documentation terminating her parental rights. She may decline to do so, in which case a Family Law Lawyer in Rochester MN will put together a case proving that she has abandoned the youngster, and that the step-parent has been acting as the natural parent.

Unexpected Roadblocks

Sometimes unexpected roadblocks occur during the process. The absent biological parent may reappear and claim full parental rights. The court has to decide on the matter. Depending on the judge, the decision may rest on the concept that biological parents who have not actually abused children should be given another chance. An attorney with an organization such as Rolsch Law Offices work to show firm evidence why the adoption should be granted.