Stepparent adoptions can be complex proceedings. Courts generally try to preserve the biological parent-child relationship. However, when this is not in the best interest of the child, stepparent adoptions are allowed. Each stepparent adoption has two parts. The first involves an effort to “terminate” the rights of one of the biological parent and the adoption itself. A voluntary verses contested termination can make a large impact on the difficulty and expense of the case.

Voluntary Consent to Terminate

In order for the stepparent to be able to adopt the child, the legal relationship between a child and a biological parent has to be forfeited. If the forfeiting parent is agreeable to the termination and adoption of the child, they may voluntarily agree to the proceeding. The terminating parent must sign a court pleading outlining their permission to terminate. Once the document has been signed, there is a fourteen-day “cool-off” period. The terminating party can rescind their consent if within the fourteen-day window. Once the period has passed, parties can petition the court for the adoption of the child.

Contested Adoption

If the other biological parent is not agreeable to terminating their rights, the process begins as a contested adoption. This process entails petitioning the court for an involuntary termination. In general, courts will look for the following circumstances when deciding to involuntarily terminate parental parents rights, including:

  • Abandonment of the child,
  • Failure to meet the support obligations without good reason, and
  • Inability to appropriately care for the child’s needs physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The courts want to ensure that the termination would be in the best interest of the child. They will also want to ensure that another individual, like a stepparent, is willing to legally provide the child with support.

Whether you anticipate a voluntary or contested termination, our stepparent adoption attorneys are ready to assist. Our lawyers will answer your questions and create the best strategy for your unique case. To reach our firm, contact our office by phone at (763) 323-6555 or submit an online inquiry request through our website.

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Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper