How Stepparent Adoptions Affect Biological Parent Rights

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When a stepparent decides to legally adopt their stepchild, it understandably brings up questions for the child’s biological parents. Biological parents naturally wonder if a stepparent adoption will affect their parental rights or responsibilities. Here is information on how stepparent adoptions work in the LaFayette, Georgia area and their effect on biological parents’ rights.

How Stepparent Adoptions Affect Biological Parent Rights

The Rights of the Non-Custodial Parent

If only one biological parent has custody of the child and the stepparent wants to adopt, the adoption does affect the non-custodial parent’s rights. The non-custodial parent must agree to surrender their rights or have them taken away involuntarily before the adoption can proceed. Once the adoption goes through, the non-custodial parent loses all rights and responsibilities toward the child. They no longer have any claim to custody or visitation and are relieved of child support obligations.

The Rights of the Custodial Biological Parent

If the custodial biological parent is married to the stepparent pursuing the adoption, their rights are not affected. The custodial parent keeps full parental rights and responsibilities for the child. The adoption simply adds the stepparent as another legal parent. The custodial parent and adoptive stepparent then share custody rights.

In some cases, a custodial parent may choose to surrender their own rights to allow the stepparent to adopt as a single parent. But this is not required for a stepparent adoption if the custodial parent consents to adding the stepparent as a second legal parent.

Communication is Key

While stepparent adoptions can understandably create concerns for biological parents, the courts require notification and consent of any parent losing rights. Open communication clears up questions on all sides and helps ensure the child’s best interests stay the priority. Biological parents should discuss options with the adoptive stepparent and an attorney. Understanding how rights shift before an adoption is finalized allows all parties to make informed decisions. If you have questions about stepparent adoptions, give our office a call to discuss your situation.