When a step parent by marriage seeks to legally adopt the child or children of his/her spouse, it is commonly referred to as a “step parent adoption.”
In Missouri, the step-parent and the legal/biological parent may jointly petition the local Family Court for an Order of Adoption. The second biological/legal parent, if living, could execute a verified Consent to Adoption. The Consent to Adoption will be filed along with the Petition and if accepted by the Court, will terminate that parents’ rights to and over the child and end any legal support or other obligations as well.
When the parties petition jointly the Court may waive the home study.
If the second parent cannot be located, the Petition might include language to establish neglect and abandonment of the child, which if proved, could be the basis to terminate that parents’ rights to and over the child. (However, should the second parent oppose the adoption, the adoption will likely be impossible.)
Adopting creates legal rights and obligations to the child. The child will become a legal heir, and the adoptive parent will have obligations to provide financial and emotional support to the child. One adoptive father says, “He was already mine. It was just a matter of paper work.”
For more information on the process contact your Attorney Charice Holtsclaw at Heartland Law at 816-842-6700. Your first consultation is always free.