Whether you’ve recently become a part of your spouse’s family or have been raising your stepchild for some time, you may want to formalize your relationship through an official adoption.
Our legal team at Jimeno & Gray can guide you through the Maryland stepparent adoption procedure with confidence. Give us a call at (443) 232-9385 to set up a consultation with a skilled stepparent adoption lawyer.
What Is a Stepparent Adoption?
A stepparent adoption is a legal process in which you assume legal responsibility for your spouse’s child as their parent. Note that this doesn’t affect your spouse’s parental rights.
Why Adopt Your Stepchild?
There are numerous benefits to adopting a stepchild in Maryland. For instance, as an adoptive parent, you’d be able to:
- Share the same last name as your stepchild
- Add your stepchild to your insurance and Social Security
- Designate your stepchild as your legal heir
- Make important decisions related to your stepchild’s education, healthcare, and finances
- Have the same legal rights as your spouse
What Does the Process Entail in Maryland?
The Maryland stepparent adoption process is more straightforward than conventional adoptions because you already share a household and a familial bond with the child. You likely won’t need to go through extensive home visits and the same lengthy waiting periods and court hearings as in traditional adoption cases.
To adopt your stepchild, you’ll need to:
- File an adoption petition with the court
- Seek permission from the other legal parent, or pursue legal action to terminate their parental rights
- Complete and submit the required paperwork with the court
- Attend a finalization hearing, during which the court will grant you full parental rights
- Apply for a new birth certificate on behalf of your stepchild, listing you as one of their parents
Adopting your stepchild can be challenging if the other biological parent is alive and can’t be found or refuses to relinquish their parental rights. Don’t worry: That doesn’t mean the court can’t or won’t grant the adoption. If the biological parent is properly notified of the adoption and fails to object, the court will usually go ahead with the adoption if it’s in the child’s best interest.
If the biological parent objects to the adoption, the outcome will depend on the circumstances of your case. An experienced stepparent adoption lawyer can help you navigate these and other legal challenges with confidence. Effective representation can make all the difference.
Talk to an Experienced Stepparent Adoption Lawyer in Maryland Today
Stepparent adoptions can be emotionally and legally challenging. At Jimeno & Gray, we understand the complexities of stepparent adoptions and can guide you through the process.
Call (443) 232-9385 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a stepparent adoption lawyer. We serve stepparents in Glen Burnie, MD, and all of Maryland.
- Draft necessary consents
- Draft petition and list of original documents needed for the petition
- File and process complaint
- Attend hearing to ensure you get the adoption with name change and receive original documents