Maxwell Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Commentary - Adopting a stepchild
Adopting a stepchild

Posted 3/28/2014   Updated 3/28/2014 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Capt. Raj Mathew
42nd Air Base Wing chief of general law


3/28/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.  -- Adoption is the process by which two individuals create a parent-child relationship recognized by law. A stepparent adoption is a legal process where the stepparent becomes the legal parent of the child. This relationship becomes permanent and cannot be reversed by a subsequent separation or divorce from the biological parent. Once the stepparent adoption is finalized, the spouse becomes the child's legal parent. The stepparent adoption process is regulated by the state and, as such, the process and requirements vary by state.

Adopters must first be prepared to take over the legal and financial responsibilities for the child from the birth parent. Then, in order to adopt a child, the biological parent must first have his or her parental rights to the child ended. Normally, this requires the approval of the parent being replaced, and many states will not allow a stepparent adoption if a biological parent objects. However, for reason of desertion, lack of fitness and other reasons, an involuntary termination of their rights can take place.

The rights of birth parents are protected in every U.S. state and territory. One of the most important legal rights has to do with the ending of parental rights. This ending of parental rights, called termination, surrender or relinquishment of parental rights, ends the legal parent-child relationship. These parental rights are ended voluntarily or involuntarily. Once the relationship is terminated, the child is legally adoptable. Due to the seriousness and long-term impact of the decision to permanently end the parental rights of the birth mother and birth father, courts have stringent requirements that must be met prior to making this decision.

The parent whose rights are to be terminated may voluntarily consent to such termination. If consent is not obtained voluntarily, the process becomes more complicated, and it is highly recommended to consult an attorney.

Before the actual stepparent adoption process can occur, the parental rights of the parent who will not voluntarily consent to the adoption need to be terminated by the court. After the court terminates the parental rights, the next step is to begin the actual stepparent adoption process by completing and filing court forms.

In order to complete a stepparent adoption in Alabama, people need to file a petition for adoption with the clerk of the court. They need to provide the court with several documents, including two copies of their marriage license, all divorce decrees of involved parties, and the child's birth certificate. Two copies should be filed in case any additional documents are required.

The clerk's office staff is not able to give legal advice because they are limited to assisting with procedural matters concerning the adoption process only.

For questions, call the 42nd Air Base Wing legal office at 953-2786 and make an appointment to speak with a legal assistance attorneys.



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Maxwell AFB

ima cornerSearch

tabSocial Media Dashboard
Facebook

Facebook

Twitter

Twitter

YouTube

YouTube

tabTop StoriesRSS feed 
Innovating education: New commander of Air University challenges Airmen

Scholarships for Military Children; Applications for new season available Dec. 15

Fadok retires after more than three decades of service.

Air Force members get new app to solve their own computer problems

Lt. Gen. Kwast assumes command of Air University

15,000 reasons to celebrate Military Retiree Appreciation Day

Air Force ROTC cadets receive nuclear scholarships

Holm Center changes command

Maxwell, Gunter libraries scheduled to undergo transitions

American Indians have served this country's military well

  arrow More Stories

tabAETC NewsRSS feed 
Innovating education: New commander of Air University challenges Airmen

Forging professional Airmen is AETC's new directorate's goal

AETC unit called in on difficult recovery effort

Pillars of Resiliency: Holiday budgeting

JBSA candidate to host AFIMSC

Luke Thunderbolts celebrate wingman day

F-35 and F-22 combine capabilities in operational integration training mission


Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act