What is a stepparent adoption?
A stepparent adoption is used to legalize the parent-child relationship between a stepparent and his/her spouse’s child. In a stepparent adoption, the stepparent assumes financial and legal responsibility for the spouse’s child, and the non-custodial parent is released from all parenting responsibilities, including child support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who must give consent for a stepparent adoption?
A: Consent of the biological parents is required unless:
- the “parent has failed without justifiable cause to communicate with the minor or to provide for the maintenance and
- support of the minor as required by law or judicial decree for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the filing of the adoption petition.”
This is a difficult standard to meet as Ohio courts have found merely sending birthday cards or letters is enough to require consent. The statute is generally construed in favor of the biological parent.
Consent is not required if the parent’s rights have already been terminated.
Q: Do I need to have a homestudy?
A: Yes. Ohio requires a homestudy for all adoptions, including stepparent adoptions.
Q: Do I need an attorney?
A: Some counties in Ohio permit stepparents to file adoption petitions pro se (without counsel); others require stepparents to be represented by an attorney. You should check on such requirements with the court where the adoption will be finalized.
Q: Are there any other special rules?
A: The final adoption decree cannot be issued until six months after the petition for adoption has been filed, or until the child has lived in the stepparent’s home for at least six months.
Q: What can Building Blocks Adoption do to assist you with a stepparent adoption?
A:It is required by the State of Ohio to submit a homestudy assessment to the court to complete a stepparent adoption. Building Blocks Adoption is licensed by the State of Ohio to participate in the placement of children. We are able to complete the homestudy, provide pre-and post-adoption services and attend any court mandated appearances.
Building Blocks Adoption has several licensed social workers on staff located throughout the State of Ohio to assist with the homestudy and post adoption needs. If you are in need of legal counsel to complete your stepparent adoption we can refer you to several law firms throughout the State of Ohio that provide such services.