To adopt your stepchild in Nebraska, there are some requirements that must be met before you can start the process.
Fortunately, there are pretty simple and are as follows:
Step one: Be married to your spouse for at least 6 months
Before you can start the stepparent adoption process in Nebraska, you must be married to your spouse for at least 6 months. This means that if you are engaged, you cannot start the process. The same is true if you are still dating.
The 6 month is not a legal requirement. It’s more of a preference that courts have when it comes to a stepparent adoption. So although the law doesn’t require you to be married for 6 months, it’s recommended that you meet the 6 month mark before starting the stepparent adoption process.
Step two: the child must have lived with the stepparent for a least 6 months
This is really important as the law wants to ensure that the stepparent has built a relationship with the child. Since a stepparent adoption terminates one biological parent’s rights and puts someone else in that place, the law wants to ensure that the person filling up this place actually has a relationship with the child and wants to be their legal parent.
Step three: The absent biological parent must be notified about the adoption
A lot of times, the scariest part of the process is notifying the absent biological parent of the adoption. This is required by law and cannot be skipped.
Notifying the other parent usually includes mailing them a notice to their address. If they cannot be located after diligent search, notice can also be served in a newspaper in the city where they currently reside or in the city where they were last known to currently reside.
Step four: the absent biological parent must agree (sometimes) to the adoption
This step deserves its own separate blog, but in a nutshell, the absent biological parent must usually agree to the stepparent adoption unless an exception applies to him/her, such as legal abandonment.
It’s always best to have the absent biological parent’s agreement than not.
If the absent parent will not agree to the adoption, the biggest exception to needing their agreement is if you can prove that he/she has abandoned the minor child for at least 6 months before the adoption is filed with the court. If you can prove this, typically, the stepparent adoption can move forward without his/her agreement.
By following steps 1 and 2, you will be ready for your stepparent adoption in no time. Once you hire and adoption attorney to start the process, you will be ready for steps 3 and 4!