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Stepparent adoption: sometimes the best interest of your children

While the relationship between a child and his or her biological parents is invaluable, there are unfortunate situations where such a relationship may not always be in the best interest of the child. In the event of a delinquent, uninvolved, or unfit parent, it is possible for a biological parent's rights to be terminated, and parental rights to be awarded to a stepparent. The willingness of a stepparent to fulfill the role of a legal parent is an honorable quality, and stepparent adoption may be in the best interest of your child, but before the new spouse can legally adopt him/her, a few legal requirements must be met.

1) Consent. Your ex must consent to the termination of his parental rights. If he has been uninvolved throughout the lifetime of your child, there is a good chance that he will not be reluctant to relinquish these rights.

2) No consent? Must have statutory grounds. There is sometimes a possibility that your child's biological father will refuse to consent to giving up parental rights. If you are considering adoption by a stepparent, you probably have a good reason. However, for a judge to grant parental rights to the stepparent there must be statutory grounds for doing so. You must prove that your child's father is unfit to parent, unwilling to parent, or unable to parent. Failure to pay child support, lack of visitation with the child, lack of reasonable interest in the child, and failure to provide a safe environment for the child can be statutory ground for termination of parental rights.

3) Negotiate. The termination of parental rights, whether consensual or not, can be an emotional occurrence. Be advised that making negotiations with your child's biological parent is often recommended. Such negotiations can be as simple as allowing the father to have a picture of your child. In other cases, it may be reasonable to offer to forgive his arrearage in child support. Once the parental rights of the delinquent father have been terminated, it is unlikely that he will pay these dues. Pursuing the payment of this child support arrearage may not be worth your time and money.

In the event that termination of parental rights is necessary, having a stepparent who is willing to step into the parental role is a wonderful thing. With the assistance of your family lawyer, you can develop a strong case for this.

For more information on your options regarding stepparent adoption, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.

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The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, Inc. 728 North Court Street, Suite B Rockford, IL 61103 Phone: 815-981-4859 Fax: 815-997-5129 Rockford Law Office Map