Stepparent Adoption Process in Kansas
March 27, 2023
Adopting a stepchild is a wonderful way for stepparents to establish a permanent and legally recognized family. However, adopting a stepchild can seem overwhelming, especially if you do not understand how the stepparent adoption process works.
If you are considering adopting your stepchild in Overland Park, Kansas, or other parts of Johnson County, contact Rundberg Law, LLC. As a family law attorney, I can help you through each step of the stepparent adoption process in Kansas to ensure the most favorable outcome possible.
Stepparent Adoption Process
The stepparent adoption process can seem daunting at first glance, but understanding each step involved makes it easier if you want to adopt your stepchild in Kansas. Let’s take a look at some of the steps involved in the stepparent adoption process so that prospective stepparents have an idea of what they can expect.
Terminating the Rights of the Other Parent
The first step in the stepparent adoption process is terminating the rights of the other parent. This can be done with or without their consent, depending on whether they are actively involved in their child's life or not.
To terminate parental rights without consent, you must prove to the court that it’s in the child’s best interest to do so, such as if the other parent has been absent from your child's life for an extended period of time or they are otherwise unfit to be a parent.
If you have their consent, then all that’s required is for them to sign a document stating that they give up all legal rights and responsibilities associated with parenting that child.
Filing Necessary Paperwork
Once you have determined how you will terminate the other parent’s parental rights, you must file all necessary paperwork with your local court system and pay any associated fees. This paperwork typically includes forms such as an intent to adopt and an affidavit of termination of parental rights (if applicable), among others. The filing fees for this paperwork will vary based on where you live and what type of paperwork needs to be filed.
After filing all necessary paperwork, you will be asked to attend the initial hearing. At this hearing, a judge will review all submitted documentation before deciding whether to move forward with your adoption petition. During this hearing, it is important that both parties are able to clearly articulate why they feel that this adoption would benefit everyone involved and how it would promote stability in their home environment going forward.
If everything goes well at your initial hearing and all documentation appears accurate, then you may be asked to participate in home studies conducted by either social workers or court-appointed guardians who specialize in adoption law and family dynamics. A home study may include interviews with both parents as well as any other adults living in your household — like grandparents or partners — along with observations about how you interact with each other as well as how clean and safe your home is considered to be under local regulations governing adoptive homes and families. After completion of these studies, final recommendations will be sent directly to the court for review prior to scheduling a final adoption hearing date for consideration by the presiding judge(s).
Final Adoption Hearing
The final step of the stepparent adoption process is attending a final adoption hearing where evidence presented during previous hearings will be reviewed by a judge before making his/her decision regarding whether your petition should be granted or denied. If it’s approved, the stepparent will officially have full legal custody over their stepchild. This typically involves signing additional documents confirming custody status.
Why You Need an Attorney for a Stepparent Adoption
An attorney plays a critical role in ensuring that a stepparent adoption takes place legally and smoothly. As a family law attorney at Rundberg Law, LLC, I have extensive experience with adoptions, including those between stepparents and stepchildren. I can help you navigate through all legal aspects of the adoption process, such as determining whether consent from both biological parents is required, filing the necessary paperwork, preparing for the hearings, and obtaining any necessary court orders or waivers, among other things.
Protect Your Family in the Eyes of the Law
While the stepparent adoption process may feel overwhelming, it does not have to be this way. At Rundberg Law, LLC, I can guide you through all of the legal steps required for your particular situation and provide invaluable advice along the way. Reach out to my office in Overland Park, Kansas, to get a free consultation.