Milwaukee County Stepparent Adoption Lawyers
We will help you navigate the complex process of adoption.
Not all family law matters are known for being pleasant experiences. Adoptions, however, are often joyous occasions, in which family relationships are cemented through the legal process. Unfortunately, they can also be quite complicated, so if you are interested in adopting your stepchild, you should strongly consider consulting with a Milwaukee County, WI stepparent adoption attorney who can ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
State Adoption Requirements
In order to legally adopt a stepchild, a person must be currently married to and reside with the child’s birth parent. Furthermore, the parental rights of the child’s other parent must be terminated, either through death or the legal process. The latter requires the filing of a petition with the county’s circuit court, after which, a court will determine whether parental rights should be terminated. Unless a parent relinquishes his or her rights voluntarily, a judge will usually only be willing to terminate parental rights if there is evidence of abuse or neglect.
At this point, a child’s stepparent can petition the court for adoption, which requires the submission of a series of forms and documentation, including:
- A petition for adoption;
- An order for hearing and screening;
- The agency’s written report of Investigation and recommendation;
- Copies of any previous divorce judgments;
- A certified copy of the order terminating the other birth parent’s parental rights; and
- A report of adoption signed by the adoptive parent.
The stepparent will then be required to submit to an investigation. These investigations, which are similar to home studies, are conducted by either a public or a private adoption agency and include interviews, background checks, psychological evaluations, letters of reference, and an inspection of the child’s home. Once the investigation is complete, a hearing will be held, during which, the court will determine whether the adoption would be in the best interests of the child. If approving the petition is deemed to be in the child’s best interests, then the adoption will be finalized and the court will issue an order stating that the stepparent is the child’s legal parent. The order can also include a name change if the parties request it.
Benefits of Stepparent Adoption
The biggest benefit to stepparent adoption is the formation of a new legal family, which can help a child feel secure in the knowledge that the stepparent has made a commitment to him or her. The parties might also find it beneficial to know that:
- The stepparent can make medical decisions on the child’s behalf;
- The stepparent’s name will be included on the child’s birth certificate;
- The child would be eligible to receive an inheritance in the event of the adoptive parent’s death;
- The child’s identity as part of the family will be solidified;
- The child can change his or her name during the adoption, which can help augment feelings of inclusion in the family; and
- A feeling of equality between siblings will be created.
To learn more about the benefits of stepparent adoption and whether it is right for you and your family, please contact our legal team today.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If you are interested in adopting your stepchild, please contact one of the dedicated and compassionate Milwaukee County, WI stepparent adoption attorneys at MacGillis Wiemer, LLC by calling 414-727-5150. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.