Stepparent adoption is a special way for stepparents to create a legal bond with their spouse’s children and become their legal parent. If you are considering stepparent adoption in the state of Hawaii, it’s important to understand the different steps that go into this process. Let's explore what stepparent adoption looks like.
Requirements for Stepparent Adoption
Overall, stepparent adoption is very similar to the traditional adoption process.
Consent for the Adoption
For a stepparent adoption, the adoptive parent must be married to one of the child's biological parents, and both biological parents must consent to this adoption. However, if one or both biological parents do not consent, the court can still approve the adoption if the parent does not communicate with the child for at least one year or if the parent does not provide care and support for the child for at least one year.
Depending on the child's age, they might also have to provide consent for the adoption to move forward. Children over the age of ten must provide written consent for the court to consider their adoption, as this decision will majorly impact them.
Consent can be revoked at any time during the process if the revocation is found to be in the child's best interest or if consent was granted through fraud or coercion. If the parent wishes to revoke their consent, they must provide clear evidence focused on why they made the revocation.
Age Of Adoptive Parent
For all adoptions in Hawaii, the adoptive parent must be at least 18 years old at the time of the adoption.
Filing Your Petition
Once you have established that you meet these qualifications, you can begin filing your petition for stepparent adoption. This involves filling out an Adoption Petition form and submitting it to court. Generally speaking, both biological parents must be notified of your petition, and if one or both parents contest the adoption, a hearing will be scheduled.
An experienced adoption attorney can help you file your petition, guide you through the adoption process, and represent your interests in court. With an adoption attorney by your side, you can feel confident that your stepparent adoption will go smoothly and successfully.
The Adoption Hearing
During this hearing, both sides will make arguments as to why or why not the adoption should take place; after a judge has heard both sides, they will decide whether to grant your petition.
The Home Inspection
Like a traditional adoption, a home study will still need to take place to ensure the children's best interests. During this process, the court may ask for a background check to be conducted and will want to meet with you and your family in person to get an idea of your home environment.
It's important to work closely with your adoption attorney throughout this process to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that you have the best chance of a successful adoption.
The Finalization of the Stepparent Adoption
After your application is processed, you have obtained consent from all necessary parties, the home study is completed, and the court approves of the adoption, you will have an Adoption Finalization Hearing where you will receive an official decree granting your adoption rights. After these steps are completed, you officially become a legal parent of your stepchild.
Hawaii's Family Law Advocates
Stepparent adoption can be an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved—but it does require patience and dedication throughout each step of the process. If you’re considering adopting your stepchild here in Hawaii, our adoption attorneys at Smith & Sturdivant, LLLC are here to help you navigate this process and prepare for successful adoption.
Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a member of our team by calling our firm at (808) 201-3898. We are waiting for your call!