Updated: Jun 14, 2020
In this blog, I will show you three different alternatives that you have to a stepparent adoption. If you're in the place where you really want to get the stepparent adoption done, but because of the times that we're living in right now, you just don't have the money to do it, I want to show you three different options that you have that you can implement right now to ensure that your child will still be secure in your home, even if something was to happen to you. Let's get started.
Alternative 1: Get Your Will Done
The first alternative that you have to stepparent adoption is getting your will done. Your Will, will cost you maybe a few hundred dollars, maybe less, but a stepparent adoption will cost you obviously a little bit more than that. If you get your will done, you can put your spouse on the Will as the legal guardian for your child.
If something was to happen to you right now and you never got around to completing the stepparent adoption, what's going to happen is that if you nominate your spouse as the legal guardian for your child, your spouse is going to have a fighting chance in court.
What happens is that, if you pass away and the other biological parent who has not been around all these years, wants to somehow come and take the child away with him, your spouse will be able to go to court and show the judge that you nominated him as the legal guardian for the child.
If you don't have a Will where you nominate your spouse as the legal guardian for your child and a stepparent adoption is never completed, your spouse has no legal rights to your child if you pass away, none, whatsoever. That means that the other biological parent who hasn't been around all these years can just come in and take the child. Maybe your parents can fight it, but grandparents don't really have many rights in family law.
Alternative 2: Split the stepparent adoption in two parts
Now, the second alternative that you have to a stepparent adoption is basically split the stepparent adoption in two parts: the first part is really about finding the absent biological parent and sending them notice of the adoption. The second part is where you fill out all of your paperwork and we go to court and get the adoption done.
Now, if you're in the situation where the other parent has already told you, "I am okay with the adoption. Send me the papers as soon as possible, I'm ready", then you can pay your attorney to do this part and finish the stepparent adoption a few months later.
You want to make sure that you finish the adoption as soon as possible, within the same year.
Alternative 3: Do it with me option
The third alternative that you have to a stepparent adoption right now, is what I call the "Do it with me" option. A lot of families when they come to me, they'll ask me, "Hey, is this something that I can do by myself? The other parent is willing to agree with it. We just don't have a ton of money and we want to see how we can do this adoption without a lawyer."
My advice is always that you don't want to do any type of adoption without a lawyer because an adoption, especially, a stepparent adoption is specific to every family. The paperwork that you fill out for a stepparent adoption is different for every single case because every family's situation is different.
Now, to qualify for this option, you have to meet certain criteria. There are two requirements and you must meet one or the other. The first requirement is that the absent parent's rights must have already been terminated by a court.
The second requirement is that the absent parent must be deceased.
I hope this was really helpful to you!