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Mastanduno Law Group Jan. 23, 2017

Step-Parent Adoptions: Making Sure Your Children Are Cared For

Mastanduno Law Group cares about helping Oregon families, not just when they are unfortunately shrinking, but also when they are growing with new additions. People divorce and remarry, but our main concern should be that the children involved are cared for in the present and future. Mastanduno Law Group wants these new transitions to go smoothly and efficiently. If you are a parent that has just remarried, you might want to consider the benefits of your child being adopted by their new step-parent.

There is no greater protection for your children if you are no longer able to raise them than someone you trust, who you’ve selected to be your spouse and become their parent. Step-parent adoption is very common and involves a legal procedure where a child’s step-parent becomes their legal parent. Once adopted, children will continue to have stability in their lives if something happens to the biological parent. In this situation, children would already be familiar with their step-parent and would not need to be relocated to be cared for.

The process for step-parent adoption is much simpler than other kinds of adoption. For example, required state home studies to ensure the child’s safety are often waived in this situation. The advice of an attorney can accelerate this adoption process because they can easily draw up the adoption petition, and can file the papers with the court on your behalf.

In order for step-parent adoption to work, the biological parent (or parents) must give permission for a step-parent to adopt their child. This is usually done through written consent. The child’s parent also must be legally married to the step-parent, and the petitioner applying for an adoption has to be an Oregon resident for at least six months. The age of the child is of relevance as well. If a child is aged fourteen years or older, then their consent is needed to make the adoption official.

With those requirements out of the way, the next step is to contact your local circuit court for an adoption packet. You can even ask the circuit court any questions that you might have about this process; however, they are not permitted to give you legal advice. An attorney is not always needed in these cases, but can offer helpful advice even if not hired to do the adoption; you will want to make sure you get the adoption right the first time. If there is a situation with one of the child’s biological parents contesting the arrangement, a lawyer is definitely advised.

After filing, there will be two major court hearings in the step-parent adoption process. The first of these will be the judge’s ruling on the petition – the judge will be making a determination on the petition and deciding whether the adoption will move forward. After a 90 day waiting period, there is another court hearing to finalize the adoption. Once the process is completed, the child will have two parents to raise them and will be able to inherit from the step-parent, even without a will. This process can be one of the most fulfilling events in a child’s or parent’s life, and will protect your children in the event that you are no longer able to care for them.


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