It is an exciting time. You’ve decided to add to your family and adopt a child. While adopting a child can be an immensely rewarding experience, it is often accompanied by a host of legal and bureaucratic complexities. Those who approach the process with the aid of a knowledgeable attorney find that they are relieved of much of the delays, frustration and expense it often entails.
In a step-parent adoption, the court can waive the requirement that the adoption family have an adoption study done. Most courts will do this as long as the step-parent has been married to the legal parent for more than one year. If an adoption study is required, it is usually done by the adoptive parent's county social services.
If the birth father of the child is still in the picture, his rights must be dealt with prior to adoption by the step-parent. This can be done either voluntarily by the birth father signing a Consent to Adoption or involuntarily by a court finding that he has “abandoned” the child. Usually abandonment means he has had no contact with the child and/or not paid any support for the child for at least six months.
If you do adopt, please remember to update your (or create an) estate plan to ensure that you are the one who decides the appropriate person to act as guardian for your child and/or trustee of your estate.
From within Hennepin County Unique Estate Law represents clients throughout Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park.