Once the honeymoon period is over, newly-married spouses generally go into an adjustment period as they blend the habits and needs of two individuals into a single working unit. Parents entering into second marriages may also have new children whom they know well, even if they have not lived together yet.
Over time, the new stepparent-child relationships solidify. As stepparents form a close bond with the children, they often choose to adopt the children, assuming that the second biological parent is no longer in the picture. Each Minneapolis stepparent adoption attorney at our firm probably handles this type of adoption more frequently than any other type. However, stepparents are frequently surprised that the process involves more than paperwork.
MN Courts Perform Due Diligence in All Types of Adoption
In general, the Minnesota laws pertaining to adoption study requirements are quite complex. Even in the case of stepparent adoptions, the courts still undergo an approval process to ensure that these adoptions will meet the best interests of the children.
Stepparent adoptions do not typically require adoption studies, but they may require post-placement assessments. The process is somewhat easier, provided the stepparents live with the children for at least one year, the children are legally available for adoption and children over 14 give written consent. In fact, even a post-placement assessment may be waived even though background checks are mandatory for all adults living in the home.
The process of preparing for and requesting a stepparent adoption is still not an easy one. To get a full vision of the court requirements, you can download the stepparent adoption (uncontested) document provided by mncourts.gov. This 20-page document sets forth the entire process involved in completing the paperwork, which includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- Addressing issues pertaining to the biological parent who is essentially being replaced by the adoptive parent, who, if living, generally must consent to the adoption
- Obtaining birth certificates for each child under consideration for adoption
- Obtaining authorization from any prospective adoptee who is age 14 or older
- Either undergoing a post-placement assessment process or asking the court to waive that requirement
- Undergoing a background study and fingerprint check of every adult age 18 and older, which cannot be waived
Do Not Expect Help From the Courts When Completing the Forms
The instruction document provides a great deal of information when describing the overall process, but it also has a page of important notices. On that page it warns that court personnel and the county’s attorney are not permitted to assist with form completion. It also advises that judges expect anyone who applies without legal assistance to know and follow the law.
An experienced adoption attorney with knowledge of the stepparent adoption process can help ensure that the process goes smoothly. It costs nothing to call us at (763) 783-5146 or use our convenient contact form to arrange for an initial consultation.