According to an old saying, stepparents and stepchildren are brought together by choice and strengthened by love. If you have found this statement to be true and would like to become your stepchild’s legal parent, please read on, then contact one of our experienced New Jersey adoption attorneys to learn what you should know about stepparent adoptions in New Jersey.
How do you conduct a stepparent adoption in New Jersey?
The adoption of stepchildren by a stepparent is one of the most common forms of adoption. Stepparents wishing to become their stepchildren’s legal parent must have the consent or agreement of both their spouse and the other biological parent, usually the noncustodial parent, unless that parent has abandoned the child. By renouncing his or her parentage, the noncustodial parent relinquishes all legal rights and responsibilities, including, but not limited to, child support. If you provide the Family Court with sufficient reason, the court can also decide that it does not require the consent of the noncustodial parent in order to proceed.
What are the benefits of stepparent adoption in New Jersey?
Aside from affirming your love of, and dedication to your stepchildren, adopting one’s stepchildren makes one their legal parent in every way. As such, you will have the legal right to make the following decisions:
- The kind of medical care the child will receive
- The school the child will attend
- The religion the child will practice
- The amount and quality of time spent with a harmful biological parent
- Any other important decisions a biological parent would be able to make
We would not be doing our duty if we did not also inform you that by becoming your stepchildren’s legal parent, should you and the child’s other legal parent divorce, you may have to pay child support. Before you take any steps, you should reach out to one of our skilled Morris County family law attorneys to discuss your next steps.
How can a Morris County family law attorney help you?
While engaging the services of a lawyer is not a prerequisite to adopting your stepchildren, it is highly recommended. In some cases, the children’s noncustodial parent may be a toxic influence and unwilling to give up custody of his or her biological children. A qualified legal professional will obtain and prepare the documents, witness statements and other evidence necessary to prove your case, should there be an obstacle. Even without any obvious obstructions, the adoption process can be long and complex. Our firm will keep you apprised of your rights and provide guidance. If you want to demonstrate your ongoing devotion to your stepchildren by becoming their legal parent, you will need quality legal representation.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.