Indiana ranks 14th in the nation in the percentage of people who have remarried, with 28.3 percent of the population having been married more than once. Often, when a person remarries, stepchildren come into the picture. If you find yourself in this scenario, you might be wondering how to adopt your stepchild in Indiana.
Your Legal Options: How to Adopt Your Stepchild in Indiana
The adoption process can be stressful to parents and children alike. The legal guidance of a compassionate and knowledgeable lawyer can ensure a smooth and efficient Indiana stepparent adoption, so you can move forward as a family.
Indiana Adoption Laws: The Basics of Stepparent Adoption in Indiana
Indiana stepparent adoption is governed by the Indiana adoption laws set forth in I.C. § 31-19. A resident of Indiana who wishes to file a petition for adoption may do so, by attorney of record, in a court having probate jurisdiction in a county that meets one of the following descriptions:
- The petitioner resides in the county;
- An agency in custody of the child is located in the county; or
- The child resides in the county.
When a child or biological parent does not live in Indiana, the laws of other relevant states must also be considered when adopting your stepchild. An experienced family law attorney can explain the basics of stepparent adoption in Indiana and assist you in the actual process of adopting your stepchild.
Adopting Your Stepchild with Consent
Many people are unaware that Indiana has a mechanism for a stepparent to legally adopt a stepchild should a stepparent wish to make the stepchild a legal child. There are several ways a stepparent can adopt a minor child. The first is when the natural parents consent to the adoption. Generally, the stepparent’s spouse is willing to consent. Sometimes, the remaining natural parent is willing to consent to the adoption of the minor child by the stepparent.
How to Adopt Your Stepchild in Indiana without Consent
In most cases, the consent of both natural parents is required for the adoption of a minor child by a stepparent. However, when one of the natural parents, without good cause, has not communicated or been in contact with the minor child for a period of at least one year or did not properly care for the child despite having the ability to provide said care, then a stepparent may seek to adopt without the consent of that natural parent.
The natural parent is required to receive notice of the stepparent’s intent to adopt and is given an opportunity to object to the adoption. However, if the natural parent’s consent is deemed to be not required, then often the adoption will proceed.
Do You Need to Know How to Adopt Your Stepchild In Indiana?
Overall, stepparent adoption can be a good fit for stepparents who have been taking care of their minor stepchildren and wish to finalize that legal bond. Camden & Meridew, P.C. is able to assist you in evaluating whether adopting your stepchild is the right option for your family.
Next, we can help you navigate Indiana adoption laws, understand how to adopt your stepchild in Indiana, and assist with the actual legal process. To learn more or schedule a consultation to discuss the basics of stepparent adoption in Indiana, call Julie Camden or Mary Phillips at 317-770-0000 or complete our online contact form.
This website supplies general information about the law but it is provided for informational purposes only. This content does not create an attorney-client relationship and more importantly is not meant to constitute legal advice. You should not act on any of the information contained herein without first consulting an attorney.