Step-Parent Adoption

The terms “mom” and “dad” have changed meaning in homes over the years. Having a traditional home with biological mom and dad still together isn’t as common as it used to be. Nowadays it is common to have one biological parent and one stepparent in the home. Ideally, both biological parents should still share the parenting role even after separation but that is not always the case. There are cases in which the stepparent has

taken on the role of mom or dad when one of the biological parents decide to stop playing a role in their child’s life. The stepparent may want to adopt the child to become the legal parent as well as the emotional one.

In order for a stepparent to adopt their stepchild, it is first necessary for the non-custodial parent’s rights to be terminated. The custodial parent must

file a Petition to the Court to get the rights of the non-custodial parent terminated. The following are grounds for the involuntary termination of parental rights:

a. The parent has abandoned the minor child pursuant to Iowa Code section 600A.8(3); or,

b. The parent has been ordered to contribute to the support of the child and has failed to do so without good cause 600A.4; or,

c. The parent does not object to the termination after having been given proper notice and the opportunity to object pursuant to Iowa Code section 600A.8(5); or,

d. Pursuant to Iowa Code section 600A.8(6), the parent does not object to the termination requested herein although every reasonable effort has been made to identify, locate and give notice to that parent as required by Iowa Code section 600A.6.

Once the rights of the non-custodial parent have been terminated, the stepparent may file with the Court to adopt the child.

As an alternative, the Court may also allow the non-custodial parent to sign a consent to the release of their parental rights (voluntary termination) during the adoption process of the child. In either scenario, the option to terminate parental rights is strictly up to the Court. A biological parent may not decide to just give up their rights. The Court will only allow a biological parent’s rights to be terminated if the Judge determines that it is in the best interests of the child and if one of the above grants are met. A Guardian Ad Litem (attorney for the child) may be appointed in these cases to determine what is in the child’s best interests.

As an experienced adoption attorney, David is committed to offering quality legal services to adoptive and biological parents. Get the professional,

knowledgeable help you need to ensure your child adoption goes smoothly. Please contact David to schedule an initial consultation.