Updated: Jun 14, 2020
Everyone in the family has a role to play in the Nebraska stepparent adoption process: the biological parent, the minor child (if 14 or older), the court, the absent parent and the stepparent all have work to do.
The stepparent’s role in making the stepparent adoption process successful is completing background checks. This is the only requirement the stepparent adoption has to fulfill.
The background checks a stepparent has to complete are FBI background checks and the Nebraska abuse registry background checks.
FBI BACKGROUND CHECKS
The stepparent must get fingerprinted at the Nebraska State Patrol’s office for FBI background checks. The fingerprints are done free of charge, but must be paid online for the results to be processed.
The results must then be delivered by the State Patrol office directly to the courthouse where the adoption will be finalized. This is really important to note because fingerprinting results were tampered with in the past and the courts no longer allow past background check results that an individual may have in his possession to be used for adoption hearings.
The stepparent will need to do this even if they just completed background checks for an employer and even if they are a part of the military.
CHILD AND ADULT ABUSE REGISTRY BACKGROUND CHECK
These are done online through the Department of Health and Human Services website and cost between $2.50 and $5.
If the stepparent has a history with CPS and has been flagged on the Child Abuse Registry, the stepparent adoption cannot be completed because the court will not allow an individual with a record concerning child abuse to adopt a child. This is to ensure that the child is protected.
If you are in that kind of situation, my suggestion is to work on getting a clean record first before thinking about moving forward with the stepparent adoption process.
If the stepparent has a criminal record, its effect on the stepparent adoption depends on what type of criminal record it is and when it happened. As a rule of thumb, criminal records that are over 10 years old tend to be easier to explain than those that were committed within the past 10 years. If the crime was done more than 10 years ago, and the stepparent has had a clean record since that time, the stepparent adoption can probably move forward depending on the type of crime was committed. As I am not an criminal law attorney, if you have more questions about this, you should consult with a criminal lawyer.
Remember that a stepparent adoption terminates the parental rights of an individual and allows another individual to step into that role. The law wants to ensure that the individual taking on the parental role is fit and will not be a danger to the child in any way.