Garnice Law PLLC provides knowledgeable and compassionate representation for adoptive parents and birth parents. Our Arizona lawyer takes great pride in providing personal attention in this sensitive area of law by making themselves readily accessible, and performing all services with great attention to detail and the highest degree of ethics. Domestic adoptions usually have a number of different parties involved in the process. Because of the unique nature of the adoption experience, for both the birthmother and the adoptive parents, our team places a great deal of emphasis on counseling and education for both parties.
For adoptive parents, we strongly encourage them to complete an adoption pre-placement home study with a licensed adoption agency serving their geographic area. In addition to confirming their fitness to parent, a pre-placement home study provides invaluable education regarding the adoption process, including the ongoing relationships involved in today’s open adoption settings. All adoptive parents must be certified by the court to adopt. For birthmothers, we place a strong emphasis on counseling, to assist with the multitude of emotions and decisions inherent in making a good adoption plan and then carrying it through to completion.
Stable loving families are always in the best interest of a child and we at Garnice Law PLLC are pleased to provide adoption services to help step-parents formalize their relationship with a step-child through adoption.
A step-parent adoption is not complicated and, in many cases, can be accomplished quickly. The only area of potential difficulty may be the first step: termination of parental rights of the non-participating/absentee birth parent.
It is usually the case that a step-parent who wishes to adopt a child has been filling a parental role for some time. The absent biological parent often has had no direct involvement or relationship with the child, and may or may not be paying child support.
The easiest way is if the absent parent will sign a document relinquishing his or her parental rights. Sometimes the request to relinquish parental rights is emotionally difficult and the biological parent may delay or need reassurance. Most often, however, the biological parent is in agreement with the step-parent adoption and signs the relinquishment papers with minimal delay. A step-parent adoption means the biological parent will no longer be responsible for paying child support.
If the biological parent is uncooperative, or their whereabouts are unknown, a hearing will need to be held to terminate that parent’s rights. Remaining steps include paperwork and a court appearance, and investigation by a family services agency. It is not as complicated as an independent or agency adoption.
The benefits to a child of being adopted by a step-parent are many. The step-parent now gains the ability to make decisions on behalf of the child regarding school, medical care, and other important life issues. The child can inherit from the step-parent, and vice versa. But the most important benefit is the security, sense of belonging, and love that the child and step-parent both gain from formalizing their relationship.