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Stepparent adoption in Indiana

In most cases, a blended family in Evansville is going to remain blended in the common sense of the term. The child will have one relationship with his or her parent and stepparent, but will also maintain a relationship with his or her other biological parent.

There are cases, however, in which the child's other parent is simply not part of his or her life, and the stepparent raises the child to such an extent that the child starts to see the stepparent as dad or mom. In these sorts of cases, stepparent adoption is an option.

Of course, a stepparent cannot just declare himself or herself to have adopted his or her stepchild. In the vast majority of cases, Indiana law requires that the biological parent consent to the adoption by the stepparent, as that will mean the stepparent has effectively replaced that parent as legal mother or father, leaving the biological parent with no rights to custody or parenting time. On the other hand, after the adoption goes through, the biological parent does not have to pay ongoing child support.

There may be some exceptions to the rule that the biological parent must consent, such as in a case in which the biological parent has already had parental rights terminated. However, courts in Indiana are often reluctant to simply terminate a parent's rights without their consent, as doing so raises serious ethical and constitutional questions.

There are many situations in which a stepparent may want to take on the full responsibilities of a mother or father, and in such cases, stepparent adoption may be an option. Those interested in pursuing this option should speak with a family law attorney.

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