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Termination of Parental Rights and Stepparent Adoption

A common question is whether a parent can terminate the parental rights of the other parent who has been absent from their child’s life. Sometimes both parents even agree that the other parent’s rights should be terminated. For example, mom may have moved out of state and wants to stop paying child support; and dad wants certainty that mom will not come back and seek parenting time or custody of the child. Courts are very hesitant to terminate parental rights in this situation and typically only do so in the case of a stepparent adoption.


Stepparent adoption allows for a stepparent to adopt their stepchild and terminates the other parent’s parental rights and the other parent's obligation to pay child support. Stepparent adoption is permanent and continues even if the parent and stepparent later divorce. A stepparent adoption may occur may be done with the other parent’s consent or may be done above the other parent’s objection.


There are many factors to consider in a stepparent adoption including the age of the child, whether the other parent has supported the child, factors concerning the parent and stepparent’s marriage, the type of custody that is in place. For more information on stepparent adoption, please contact us today.

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