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What You Should Know About Stepparent Adoptions

Greenberg & Greenberg July 12, 2016

Child Laying in the grass with man and football

A stepparent that wishes to adopt their stepson or stepdaughter likely cannot wait to bring their family closer together. But they have probably not anticipated some of the legal complications that can arise in a stepparent adoption case. In particular, biological parents can prove to be a difficult burden standing between the stepparent and their plan to adopt their stepchild.

Any biological parent named on a child's birth certificate inherits certain rights under New York law when it comes to adoption. Specifically, a biological mother or father must either give consent to stepparent adoptions or be notified about a pending stepparent adoption, which will give them time to choose to prevent it through intervention or allow it to happen. This same set of rights are also granted to biological parents who have been named in a denial of paternity suit or child support orders.

A Negative Past Does Not Remove Parental Rights

In many stepparent adoption cases, the custodial parent of the child is under the false impression that a biological parent loses his or her parental rights if they commit domestic violence, have a criminal history, or willingly detached themselves from the child's life. This is not the case. No matter how much negativity is in a biological parent's past, they do not lose the right to deny a stepparent adoption until a court says so. Achieving this end can require some serious convincing.

At Greenberg & Greenberg, our New York adoption attorneys have been helping custodial parents and stepparents alike sort through adoption issues for more than four decades. We are proud to say that we have helped more than 6,000 families come together through adoption. While you, your family, and your case are all unique, you can be confident that nothing about your stepparent adoption process will surprise or delay us.

When you are ready to get the legal help you need, call or contact us online.