The Difficulties of Step-Child Adoption

Do you ever stop to think about everything that goes into adopting a child? There are tons of rules and regulations that apply to every step of the process, and it’s even more complicated if you’re looking to adopt from an international agency. Divorce is fairly common these days, and many children are being raised at least partially by step-parents. This can cause a lot of trouble for parents and step-parents. Many step-parents may have come entered a child’s life while they were still very young. The child has grown up with the step parent, and the child respects and loves the step-parent as if they were a real parent. For better or worse, step-parents do not automatically have legal authority and responsibility over that child. In order for a step parent to enjoy the full rights granted of a biological parent, they need to go through the adoption process. The crazy thing is that it looks much the same as an adoption that happens through an adoption agency. The familial bond doesn’t do much to cut out any of the legal processes. I found out about this while I was reading through some information on the website for the Law Offices of Baden V. Mansfield. The attorneys at that office work on step-parent adoptions all the time. They help step-parents acquire what’s called legal guardianship of a child so that they can enjoy the rights that the biological parents do.

The laws surrounding step-parent adoption vary from state to state. Most states have an extensive process that includes background checks, home studies, court processing, and other requirements. All of these things have to happen in a specific order and in a specific timeline. The whole process can be confusing, and most judges are looking to protect the interest of the child. If you make an honest mistake while filling out paperwork or you fail to meet a deadline, a judge may view you as careless or not invested in the child. This can be detrimental to the adoption process.

In some unfortunate cases, a parent may place their own ego before the interest of their child. Some biological parents may try to stop stepparents from gaining legal guardianship so that they retain more control of the child’s life. They may falsely slander you or your spouse in court. As a biological parent, their word will hold some weight with the judge. If you try to involve yourself in a he-said, she-said situation between parent and step-parent, it’s not going to look good for anyone. Hiring a lawyer will help you navigate any potentially ugly situations like this. It’s a lawyer’s job to represent you and put your best face forward. Having a lawyer helps you show your true character in a way that is professional and convincing to a judge. A lawyer will also be able to explain away any slander that comes your way with evidence and testimony rather than relying on pure word of mouth. These are all great things to consider.

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Types of Child Custody

When a married couple decides to end their marriage, one of the most affected will be their children. After living with both their parents, the impact of seeing them living separately can be too hard for the child. Who gets custody of the kids is one of the most important issues that is addressed in divorce proceedings. The website of Marshall & Taylor PLLC reveals that deciding on child custody involves determining the best interest of the child.

There are different kinds of child custody available for the court to choose from. This type of cases is all about looking after the care and welfare of a child. The parent who gets custody is called the “custodial parent” with whom the child will spend most of his time after the divorce. Initially, it is the parents who will decide who will get custody of the child. If they cannot agree among themselves, this is the only time that the court will intervene.

Physical Custody

Physical custody may either be shared by both parents in a joint physical custody or awarded to only one parent in a sole physical custody agreement. In joint physical custody, the place of residence is shared between the parents in a way that will allow the child to have equal time and contact with their parents. In sole physical custody, the children permanently stay with the custodial parent while the non-custodial parent gets visitation rights.

Legal Custody

In legal custody, one or both parents make major decisions regarding the care or welfare of their child. When one parent decides, it is called sole legal custody. When the court awards joint legal custody, both parents have equal rights with the decision making.

Non-Parent/Third Party Custody

There are instances when custody of the child is awarded to a relative or close friend of the family. In non-parent or third party custody, the person seeking child custody files a petition with the court and pays the filing fees. They also need to have a letter of consent from the parents. The petitioner will then be subjected to a background check and may sometimes be interviewed or have their home inspected.

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