Becoming a legal parent to your spouse’s child is an extremely rewarding and exciting experience. Our team of family lawyers and support staff at Butler & Flynn, PLLC in Oklahoma City guides soon-to-be stepparents through Oklahoma’s adoption process with enthusiasm, professionalism and attention to detail. We have helped numerous Sooner families with adoption, and are familiar with the types of questions, concerns and issues that arise frequently in stepchild adoptions. Whether you are looking to become the legal parent of one child or more, our attorneys are available to support you throughout. We also handle situations where both spouses are adopting the other’s children to create a blended family.
Completing a stepchild adoption is not only an expression of your emotional commitment to your stepchild, but it also makes you the child’s legal custodian. Once you become a legal parent to your child, you have the same parental rights and responsibilities as your spouse. You will be able to contribute to decisions about your child’s medical care, education and daily life and your child will stand to inherit from your estate if you pass away without a will. You also commit to providing the child with financial support and a safe home at least until they are no longer a minor.
Stepchild adoption differs from other forms of adoption in Oklahoma in that it typically requires fewer steps and is typically less costly than adoptions where a new parent has no existing relationship with the child or the child’s biological parent(s). A stepchild adoption is a type of related adoption as opposed to an unrelated adoption. Whereas unrelated adoptions necessitate home visits and extensive background checks, and often involve long wait periods and other potential hurdles, individuals who pursue related adoptions can bypass many of these steps.
You will only be able to complete a successful stepchild adoption in Oklahoma if the following criteria are met:
Gaining approval from the child’s estranged parent is often one of the more difficult aspects of stepchild adoption. It may be difficult to locate the noncustodial parent to have them sign off on the adoption. Some biological parents refuse to give up their parental rights even when they have not exercised them for years and have been largely absent from the child’s life. Fortunately, a family law attorney may be able to convince the court to strip the neglectful biological parent of their rights so that the adoption can proceed.
A judge can terminate a parent’s rights if there is strong evidence that the parent was abusive, abandoned the child, continually failed to pay child support or has not maintained a positive relationship with the child for a least 12 of the past 14 months.
We focus on strategic action to help stepparents secure their rights and move into the next chapter of life with their family. Our lawyers are here to answer your adoption questions whenever you are ready.
The family law attorneys of Butler & Flynn, PLLC in Oklahoma City help Oklahoma residents throughout the stepchild adoption process. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 405-416-2711 or contact us online.