If you are planning to adopt your wife’s children from her previous marriage, you might be wondering whether she will still be eligible to receive child support. The short answer is – no. In order to understand why, you need to first understand how the process of stepparent adoption works in Auburn, Alabama.
Adopting Your Wife’s Children in Auburn, AL – What You Need to Know
Under Alabama law, in order to adopt your wife’s children from her previous marriage, you must first petition the court to terminate her ex-spouse’s rights as a parent. Once their rights are terminated, you can step into their shoes as the parent.
Once the relationship between the other parent and the children is legally severed, the other parent will lose their right to visitation or custody and will no longer be able to play any role in the child’s life – since they are no longer the parent. Along with their rights as a parent, their duties and obligations towards the children also end. Correlating with this, they are not required to pay child support or provide financial assistance in any other form to the children.
Simply put, once you adopt your wife’s children in Auburn, AL, they are your responsibility, and it is your duty to provide for them – since you are the natural parent under the law.
Challenges Involved in Stepparent Adoption in Auburn
Adopting your wife’s children is a fairly straightforward process if the other parent is willing to sign their parental rights away voluntarily. On the other hand, if they are unwilling to do so, you might have to convince the court in Auburn, AL as to why their rights as a parent should be terminated and why you should be allowed to adopt the children.
Under Alabama law, a parent’s rights can be terminated if they abuse, abandon, or neglect their children. Similarly, if they have never played an active role in their children’s lives and have never demonstrated an interest in their wellbeing, the court might consider terminating their rights as a parent.
In some cases, the court might decide to terminate a parent’s rights regardless of whether they consent to it or not. For instance, if the parent has explicitly denied paternity – in writing – the court can terminate their rights as a parent even without their consent.
Similarly, if the other parent is suffering from a serious health problem or mental disorder that can prevent them from fulfilling their duties and obligations towards their children, the court might consider terminating their rights and allow you to adopt the children.
It should be noted that in some cases, the court might ask for what is called a ‘home study’ to determine whether you can provide a suitable environment for the children to be raised in. While it does not happen often, it is something you should be prepared for.
What You Need to Know about Your Obligations as a Stepparent
Once you adopt your wife’s children in Auburn, you will be considered legally the same as their natural parent. Your duties and obligations towards your adopted children are no different from your duties and obligations towards your biological children – if you have any or if you are planning to have any.
What it means is that if you and your wife choose to end your marriage, you may have to pay child support to your wife, since you are legally responsible for providing for the children. If your wife were to pass away or become incapacitated due to an injury or illness, you will be granted custody of the children. Your children would be able to inherit your assets in the event of your death as well.
Adopting your wife’s children from her previous marriage is a big step, which needs to be carefully thought over. But it can also be extremely rewarding!
You need to make sure that you can provide a caring and loving environment for the children and take care of all their needs. You also need to determine whether you will be able to fulfill your obligations (financial and otherwise) towards your children as the stepparent.
Planning to Adopt Your Wife’s Children? Our Auburn Family Law Attorneys Can Help
Stepparent adoption in Auburn, Alabama is a complicated process, which requires the expertise and guidance of an experienced family law attorney. Without the assistance of a skilled lawyer, you might have a difficult time getting through the process.
At Alsobrook Law Group, we have decades of combined experience in handling adoption cases, and we know how the process works. We can guide you through the process, make the right arguments to convince the court that you should be allowed to adopt your wife’s children, and take the necessary steps to bring you together as a family.
To find out how we can help you with stepparent adoption, call us today at 334-737-3718 or contact us online and schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.