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Stepparent Adoption in Minnesota

After the process of going through a divorce, the prospect of dealing with more legal matters may be unappealing, particularly if your divorce involved children. However, in the event that you remarry, there may be a happy reason to find yourself back in court: your new spouse wants to adopt your children. 

In Minnesota, stepparent adoption involves a four-step process, and while some of the particulars differ from county to county, the overall approach is consistent. 

The first step of the process is often the biggest hurdle: terminating the rights of the other biological parent. If the other parent consents to giving up parental rights, they have 14 days after signing the paperwork to reconsider. In cases where the other parent doesn’t want to terminate their parental rights, the petitioning parent must persuade the court that the other parent has abandoned or otherwise failed the child. This can be very difficult. 

After this step, you must complete the following:

  • Petition for adoption: This form asks for basic information about everyone involved in the adoption and about the nature of their relationship.
  • Background checks: This is where your county may differ from others. Some counties limit themselves to a basic criminal background check, while others investigate more thoroughly. Some even require visits to the home to get a better sense of the relationship between the stepparent and the child.
  • Final hearing: Once Child and Family Services has finished their job, the parties will appear before a judge to verify that they want the adoption to move forward. If the adoption is approved, the family can move on to adjusting other essential documents and beginning their new life. 

Helping a family navigate stepparent adoption can be complicated, but the rewards are often considerable. If you’re interested in pursuing stepparent adoption in Minnesota, contact the experienced Twin Cities family law attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart.

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