Stepchild adoptions: terminating the biological parental rights

| Feb 26, 2020 | Adoption

The relationship between a stepchild and their stepparent can be incredibly valuable in the lives of both parties involved. In many instances, a stepparent can be more caring and supportive than the child’s biological parent.

The bond that forms between stepparents and stepchildren allows children to thrive and excel in their development. You may have considered making it even more official by pursuing adoption.

However, before you can apply for the adoption of your stepchild, you must fulfill one key requirement.

How to obtain the termination of parental rights

The state of Georgia requires that your stepchild’s other biological parent terminates their parental rights before an adoption process can begin. There are generally two ways this may happen:

  • Voluntary termination – The non-custodial biological parent voluntarily revokes their parental rights to their child. This can be done through a written statement or may require filing papers with a court.
  • Termination ruled by a court – If the other parent refuses to terminate, a court will have to determine parental rights.

If your case appears before a court because the other parent does not want to give up their rights, you may face a challenging battle. You will have to prove that the other biological parent is either unfit or abandoned the child for the court to grant termination.

The adoption process can be unpredictable and full of obstacles, and you must be well-prepared before you begin. If you believe you might have trouble getting the other parent to revoke their rights, you may want to gather evidence early so you are ready when the time comes. In these cases, an experienced family law attorney can also help guide you toward success.

Obtaining the other biological parent’s consent is only the beginning of the adoption process, but a critical obstacle you must overcome. And afterward, you will be one step closer to officially being family.