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How Do Stepparent Adoptions Differ from Other Minnesota Adoptions?

The regular adoption process in Minnesota involves a home-study to make sure that the adopting parents can provide a safe and appropriate home for the child. These adoptions are typically completed with the help of an agency, unless the parties involved already know each other. In stepparent adoptions, the home-study can be waived by the court.

In stepparent adoptions, the state offers a simplified procedure to allow a stepparent to adopt a stepchild without facing many of the hurdles involved in typical adoption. The stepparent adoption process involves three main steps:

  • Termination of parental rights. For a stepparent to adopt a child, one of the child’s birth parents must give up their parental rights. Voluntary termination occurs when a birth mother or father agrees to give up his or her rights as part of the adoption process. Involuntary termination can be forced when the child’s birth parent does not consent, but certain criteria must be met.
  • Adoption paperwork. A variety of forms, petitions and affidavits are compiled as part of the pleadings delivered to the court administrator.
  • Court approval. Following a background check, the court will hold a relatively simple hearing involving the parents and the child, after which the adoption is made official.

In both stepparent adoptions and regular adoptions, the consent of any child over 14 years of age is required.

For help with a stepparent adoption, schedule a consultation with a compassionate Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. today.

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