If you have a child and you marry someone other than the child’s parent, it is natural that you will want a bond to form between your child and their new stepparent. However, even if a stepparent raises a child as their own, if your marriage ends, they will have no rights to custody with the child.
To preserve a close relationship with a child and gain parental rights, many stepparents in Utah seek to legally adopt the child. Once an adoption is final, they will have all of the rights and responsibilities as a biological parent. However, stepparent adoption can be complicated and can involve paternity and child custody laws Utah. The following are some steps you will need to take if your partner wants to adopt your child:
Consult with an attorney — Stepparent adoption can get complicated and has many requirements, so it is critical to have the guidance of an experienced family lawyer who understands Utah law.
Ensure you and your partner meet the requirements — In Utah, you must meet the following requirements to even consider stepparent adoption:
- As the biological and custodial parent, you must be married to your partner seeking to adopt;
- Your partner must have lived with your child for at least one year (which can be waived by the court under certain circumstances); and
- Your partner must be at least ten years older than your child.
Obtain consent or terminate parental rights — In order for the adoption to be granted, the child’s other biological parent must consent and relinquish their parental rights. In some cases, if they have little contact with the child, this can be simple. However, in many cases they can refuse to give consent. In such situations, you can seek to have the court terminate their parental rights based on certain reasons including abandonment, abuse or neglect, long-term addiction, mental illness, among others.
File the documents with the court — If all of the above steps are complete, the rest of the process involves filing the right documents and appearing in front of the court.
Discuss Your Legal Options For Adoption With A Utah Child Custody Lawyer
If you have questions about stepparent adoption or any issues relating to child custody in Salt Lake City, you should not hesitate to contact a child custody attorney at CoilLaw, LLC. Our attorneys have worked with many different couples to assist with adoption, child custody, and other family-related issues that may arise. We have the skill and experience necessary to help you, so please call today at (801) 884-3775 for more information.
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Sandy, Utah 84094
Phone: (801) 884-3775