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Ohio Adoption Attorney: Step-Parent Adoption

Updated: Mar 5, 2019

At Petroff Law Offices, we take great joy in uniting families and making many Ohio adoptions possible. Oftentimes, the most special, and often most complex, of these matters are Ohio step-parent adoptions.

Ohio Adoption

Although the process can be a simple one with the agreement of both natural parents, complexities can arise should the other natural parent not consent to the adoption. Below, you will find answers to many commonly asked question regarding step-parent adoption and how it can affect your family.

I’m ready to adopt my new spouse’s child. What’s the first step?

Finding the right Ohio adoption attorney to represent your interests is an important first step. Ensure that the Ohio adoption attorney you choose is experienced in adoption and the state/county in which your adoption will be filed. The right attorney will understand the nuances of each county in Ohio, as certain counties will have different requirements, filing fees and adoption procedures.

Once you have selected the right Ohio adoption attorney, a Petition for Adoption will be filed and served upon the child’s other natural parent. The other parent can choose whether or not to consent to the adoption.

The other natural parent will not provide consent. What can I do?

In Ohio, there are several exceptions to the consent rule. The adoption can proceed without consent if the court finds clear and convincing evidence that the other parent has:

  1. Has failed to communicate with the child for a period of one year before the filing of the adoption petition

  2. Has failed to financially support the child for a period of one year before the filing of the adoption petition.

Once the adoption is finalized, does the other natural parent have any rights? What are my rights and responsibilities as the adoptive parent?

The other natural parent has no legal rights to the child once an adoption is finalized. He/she also has no obligation to provide any sort of financial support to the child. Essentially, the relationship with the child is completely severed except for the underlying biology.

As the adoptive parent, you now have the same responsibilities to the child as a natural parent. Should you and your spouse divorce, both you (as the adoptive parent) and your spouse may be responsible for child support and you can petition the court for the custody of the child. Additionally, the child is now able to inherit from you just as a natural born child would when you decease.

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