Step Parent Adoption in Missouri
Blended families are becoming increasingly common throughout the nation, and this is one way to bring the family closer. It is simple to understand how this happens, when first-marriage divorce rates hover around 50%, and the United States Census Bureau reports that about 40% of those individuals choose to wed once again.
Often, these households mirror the dynamics of more traditional homes, and the families want to enjoy the same legal rights as their nuclear family counterparts. With adoption step-parent rights are provided to the non-biological parent allowing them the same support, privileges, and responsibilities toward the child as if they were blood-related.
Masterson Law can provide expert advice to help you in the process to solidify your family unit.
How Long Does an Uncontested Adoption in Missouri Take?
A step parent adoption in Missouri can be among the most satisfying events in the life of both the kid and the adoptive parent. Step-parent adoption is a long-term relationship in which an individual, usually a child, becomes the legal son or daughter of the biological mother or father’s partner. This is a potentially complicated process depending on a variety of factors, and a reputable attorney would make the process a much easier and smooth one.
How to Adopt Your Stepchild and Ensure Your Parental Rights
To better care for your spouse’s children, you may want to know how to adopt your stepchild. Regardless of how close the family is, the spouse of a child’s birth parent is not lawfully allowed to make crucial decisions for the minor. With adoption, stepchildren can receive the complete support of both parents living in the home.
Hiring an attorney with expertise in family law improves your success rates when you begin the process of adoption in Missouri.
How to Legally Adopt a Stepchild
Although you already love your spouse’s children like they’re your own, you’re wondering how to legally make it official. Seek the counsel of a law firm that will help you navigate the potentially tricky issues of ending the parental rights of the other birth parent so you can file for adoption. After weighing all of the scenarios, if the judge determines that it is in the child’s best interest, the process of adopting is similar to any other.
Since this process has potential complications that other adoptions do not, it is particularly helpful to have the assistance and advocacy of a knowledgeable family law attorney.
Understanding the Missouri Adoption Process
Completing the Missouri adoption process is the only way in which a non-biological parent may enjoy the same privileges as a birth parent. These include:
- Make academic decisions for the child
- Make health decisions
- Responsibility to fulfill his or her physical, psychological, and social needs
- Right to seek custody in a divorce
How to Adopt a Child in Missouri
To obtain legitimate parental rights as a stepparent, you need to know how to adopt a child in Missouri. The process starts with the filing of a Petition for Adoption. The petition is typically submitted in the county where the family lives. It may, however, be submitted in one of the other following locations:
- County where the child was born
- County where the birth mother lives
- County where the birth father lives
- County where the child lives at the time of the filing of the petition
Adoption forms are generally submitted by the biological parent and the partner seeking the adoption on behalf of the child. After the preliminary pleadings are submitted, the Court will select a guardian ad litem to act as the agent and represent the child. The guardian will interview all involved parties, including the child.
In most cases, an adoption in Missouri is difficult enough, but what about when the biological parent does not want to relinquish his or her parental rights? Child custody lawyers in Springfield can help.
StepParent Adoption Without Consent
Hiring an assertive legal office is necessary when you are attempting a stepparent adoption without consent. In Missouri, written consent of adoption is required by any child aged fourteen or older. The written consent of both biological parents is also needed. The stepparent’s and child’s desire for the adoption are merely two of the factors considered by the Court. The natural parent must have been notified of the proceedings and provided permission for them to move forward.
If the non-custodial parent objects to the adoption, it complicates the matter, and the legal proceedings might not continue. Obtaining the authorization of the birth parent who is giving up their child for adoption might be the most challenging obstacle. As part of the procedure, he or she will have his or her parental rights permanently terminated.
Several causes of parental termination are:
- Birthparent cannot meet the child’s needs
- Birthparent’s identity is unknown
- Father denies paternity
- Parent abandoned the child
- Parent is deceased
- Parent was served notice of a pending adoption but failed to respond
- Paternity was not officially established
Since these proceedings often become heated, a law firm that offers dispute resolution services can be beneficial in helping all parties come to an amicable agreement.
How Much Does Adoption Cost in Missouri?
How much does adoption cost in Missouri? According to the Missouri Department of Social Services:
“There is little to no cost involved in becoming an adoptive parent. The home assessment and training is provided by the state free of charge, and the majority of adoption expenses are covered by the state.”
Although individual cases vary, in Missouri, additional expenses may include any combination of the following:
- Counseling services
- Pre-placement study expenses
- Post-placement study expenses
- Reasonable legal costs and court costs
- Related administrative expenses
- Any other services the Court finds necessary
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your adoption, you may want to seek a lawyer who is already familiar with your story, such as the representative from a previous divorce in Springfield, MO.
How Much Does a Step-Parent Adoption Cost in Missouri?
How much does it cost in Missouri? Ultimately, it depends on the difficulty of the case. It takes roughly three months to complete. When finished, the child will get a new birth certificate featuring his or her new name and the name of the new parent.
Every state controls the costs associated with adoption. MO adoption statutes do not leave out some expenditures; however, they do suggest that the Court might prohibit any costs that are unreasonable.
Missouri Step-Parent Adoption Forms
Although the Missouri step-parent adoption forms can be found here, skilled counsel can help you with the process. In theory, it sounds simple: you want to adopt your stepchildren, submit the proper forms, complete the adoption, and become lawfully comparable to a birth parent. Unfortunately, it is often not that easy.
You love your stepchildren and want the rights and responsibilities of being their parent via an adoption. Contact Masterson Law and make the dreams for your family come true.