You have built a great relationship with your stepchild and now you want to adopt. However, you are not sure where to start.
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about stepparent adoptions in Indiana.
What are the requirements to adopt a stepchild in Indiana?
A stepparent must have at least six months of residency in Indiana and the permission of both biological parents to adopt a stepchild in Indiana. The state may waive the requirement to get permission from a parent who has been absent from the child’s life for 12 months or longer. Additionally, if the stepchild is 14 years old or older, the child must consent to the adoption and demonstrate an understanding that the birth parent will not legally be part of the child’s life.
Does the biological parent have any parental rights after a stepparent adoption?
Once the adoption is final, a biological parent who consented to give up parental rights no longer has any legal rights concerning the child. The stepparent is now the stepchild’s legal parent. However, a biological parent who does not consent to the adoption may contest an adoption by a stepparent.
What happens if I get divorced after adopting my stepchild?
Adoption is permanent. If you and your spouse get divorced after the adoption, you are still the child’s legal parent.
If you are ready to commit to a lifetime of parenting your stepchild, the legal process is fairly straightforward. However, obtaining the permission of both parents is the key to avoiding complications.