Understanding the stepparent adoption process

Many broken families in Pennsylvania suffer when one parent is not in the household to help raise the children. This situation can impact how these children develop emotionally over the years with many children suffering through a troubled childhood that often leads to delinquency during the teen years. Single parent homes can be difficult environments. However, one of the best potential remedies for this situation is when the custodial parent marries an individual who is willing to assume the legal role of being the additional parent.

The adoption process

A steppparent adoption is not necessarily a difficult process. All that is initially required is filing the necessary paperwork and attending the preliminary hearing. Families will have the opportunity to explain to the court why they want the action approved, including testimony from children in some instances. The court will also have some issues to discuss regarding state law, and especially the fact that a child can have only two parents. This means that one biological parent will need to sign off on the process before the request for legal adoption can go forward.

Parental rights challenges

While there are some cases where there is no identifiable biological parent who needs to relinquish their parental rights regarding any particular child, many cases will require the biological parent signing documentation allowing the state to reassign those rights to another adult. Sometimes the parent is receptive to parental reassignment, and sometimes they are not. However, officially relinquishing parental rights is still a legal necessity.

There are advantages and disadvantages for both sides to a reassignment of parenthood. The advantages for the family are obvious. For the relinquishing parent, reassignment ends any responsibility for child support payments, but it also ends any claim to parental rights.