When you adopt a stepchild, you have the same responsibility of care to him or her as you would if they were born to you. For example, if you divorce the child’s biological parent, you may be obligated to pay child support. Similarly, if the unthinkable happens and the child’s biological parent passes away, you will be responsible for the child’s care until it comes of age. Indeed, the adoption of a stepchild is a significant decision. In Ohio, this process involves several steps.
Choose an Attorney
Given the complexities of stepchild adoption in Ohio, you are legally required to be represented by an attorney during the process. You may already have an attorney in mind. However, if you need to find one who is familiar with your local laws, you can search the internet for law firm Mentor OH, for example.
File a Petition for Adoption
The second step is to file a petition for adoption and submit the necessary documents supporting your suitability as an adoptive parent. This is done with the Court of Common Pleas in the county where either you, the child or its biological parent reside. You must also secure the consent of the child and both biological parents. If one of the parents is deceased or unknown, you need to file an affidavit concerning this issue along with your petition.
Undergo a Home Study
Once the petition has been filed, you must undergo a home study. This is to ensure that your home is a suitable adoptive placement.
Attend a Hearing
When the necessary documents have been filed and you have been approved by the home study, you, your partner and your stepchild must attend a court hearing. The judge will only issue a decree of adoption if he or she determines that the adoption is in the best interests of this child.
Adopting your stepchild is a serious step. There are many legal and personal implications that must be carefully considered. However, it can also bring rewards for your family that will last a lifetime.