Do I Need To Hire An Attorney If I Want To Adopt A Child?

According to Ohio law, if you wish to adopt a child, you must either hire an attorney or arrange the adoption through an adoption agency. If you use an agency to arrange an adoption, it is still advisable to hire an attorney. The adoption process can be confusing and complex, and an attorney will be able to help navigate you through this legal process.

Who May Be Adopted And Who May Adopt?

There are three types of individuals who may be adopted and those are minors, children of an adult spouse, and adults who have a permanent disability or a mental challenge. A married couple or an unmarried adult may adopt. A married adult may adopt on their own, if certain requirements are met.

What Legal Rights And Responsibilities Will I Have If I Adopt My Spouse’s Child From A Previous Marriage?

If you adopt your spouse’s child from a previous marriage, this will be considered a stepparent adoption. This type of adoption creates a relationship between the adopting stepparent and the child, as if the child were born to that step parent. As a result, the legal relationship between the other natural parent is terminated. The adoption is considered permanent which means that, in the event of a divorce, the adopting stepparent will be responsible for child support and will be permitted to seek custody or visitation of that child. Additionally, the child will be eligible to inherit through the adopting step parent. Following the adoption, a new birth certificate is issued for the child, recording any name change and adding the child’s stepparent as the child’s natural parent.

Where Does The Adoption Take Place?

Adoptions take place in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the child, the person seeking the adoption, or the natural parent resides.

How Do I Proceed If I Wish To Adopt My Stepchild?

To start a stepparent adoption, you would file a petition for adoption with the appropriate court, which requires basic information about the identity and circumstances of the stepparent and the child to be adopted. In some Ohio counties, a supplemental petition containing additional information regarding employment, military service, previous marriages, and other children also must be filed. Each county has different requirements, filing fees, and procedures for stepparent adoption.

What Happens After The Petition For Adoption Is Filed With The Court?

The petition for adoption must be served upon the step child’s other natural parent. Both natural parents must sign a written form consenting to the adoption. If the other natural parent does not consent to the adoption, the adoption cannot take place. The natural parents must also be served with notice of the date of the adoption.

Are There Any Exceptions To The Rule That The Other Parent Must Consent To The Adoption?

If the other natural parent has failed, without justification, to either communicate with the child or financially support the child for a period of one year before the filing of the adoption petition, the parent’s consent is not required. The court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the natural parent has failed to provide more than minimal contact with the child or has failed to provide for the child’s treatment or support.

For more information on Adopting A Child In The State Of Ohio, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (937) 888-2909 today.