Step parent adoption is the most common forms of adoption in Minnesota. It involves a three-part process.
First, the parental rights of the biological father are terminated. Usually this is done on a voluntary basis, although in some instances and involuntary termination of parental rights will be necessary.
The court will not grant a voluntary termination of a father’s parental rights unless mother’s new husband is ready to adopt the child.
An involuntary termination of parental rights is appropriate when the biological father will not consent, but there is an adequate statutory basis to terminate. The statutes in this area have recently been amended, and some additional opportunities for an involuntary termination have been created.
Once the termination process is complete, the next phase of a step parent adoption involves drafting the adoption paperwork. The relevant pleadings include not only a petition for adoption, but also affidavits from the parties. Proposed findings for the court to sign will accompany a certificate of adoption and request to amend the birth certificate of the minor child.
This complete package of pleadings, and other information, is then filed with the court administrator.
The third phase of the step parent adoption involves court approval of the adoption itself. Unlike a traditional adoption, the county will conduct a rather minimal background check concerning the step parent. Once this process has concluded, the court administrator will notify the parties, and the judge, that the matter is ready for hearing.
The final hearing is relatively straightforward. The parties, along with the child, will appear in court, and answer some simple questions about the request for the step parent adoption. Photos and celebration usually follows.