What to Know About Stepparent Adoption in New Jersey

siblings playing together

Divorces are incredibly common. As a result, many individuals get re-married, which changes and expands families. Stepparents, stepsiblings, and stepchildren may be added to the mix. Stepparents and stepchildren can have wonderful relationships. In some cases, a stepparent may even wish to adopt his or her stepchild. This can be a difficult process, so it is important to educate yourself, examine all of your options, and speak with a skilled family law attorney. Read on to learn more about stepparent adoption in New Jersey and what you need to know.

Why Do Stepparent Adoptions Occur?

Sometimes a stepparent will adopt his or her stepchild if the child’s biological parent is incarcerated or institutionalized. Additionally, in New Jersey, stepparents do not have very many parental rights so adoption will allow them to make important decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, religion, and more.

What the are the Requirements?

In order for a stepparent adoption to occur, the non-custodial biological parent’s parental rights will have to be terminated. This can happen if the parent gives permission to have his or her rights terminated. If the parent will not agree to the termination, the parental rights can be terminated by a New Jersey court. But, for the most part, this will only happen if there is proof of neglect or abuse. Additionally, a child over 10 years old will have to consent to the adoption and be present at the adoption hearing.

What is the Process?

In the event that you are able to adopt your stepchild, you will have to go through an adoption process. You will want to retain the help of a family law attorney. The adoption process will likely involve a background check. You will need to be fingerprinted and cleared through the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Additionally, there will be an adoption hearing.  When the adoption is complete, the law views the stepparent as the biological and legal parent of the stepchild, with the same parental rights and obligations of any biological parent.

If you or a loved one is interested in adopting his or her stepchild, contact our firm today to speak with a dedicated family law attorney. We are here to walk you through all of your family law matters.

Contact our Firm

We understand how emotional and difficult matters of family law can be. If you need the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney to help protect your right to your family, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced firm. We are eager and dedicated to helping you through this difficult time. Our personal injury specialists at Greenberg & Walden, LLC are standing by for a free initial consultation. Call us at 201-528-6928

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