These are adoptions in which one spouse desires to adopt the child of the other spouse, generally with the other spouse’s consent. As with any adoption, the adopting parent will have all of the rights and obligations of a biological parent, including the obligation to care for, educate and financially support the child, and the adopted child will have all rights of a natural child, including then right to inherit. In many cases, these adoptions are simple (if the other biological parent is (i) deceased, (ii) is the biological father and his identity is unknown, (iii) has had little or no contact with the child, (iv) has not properly cared for the child despite having the ability to do so, or (v) willingly agrees to consent to the adoption). These cases are filed in a probate court having jurisdiction and can be completed fairly quickly.
However, under Indiana law, the natural parent, if known, is required to be notified of the stepparent’s intention to adopt the child and is given the opportunity to object to the adoption. If an objection is made, the adoption may be more difficult but is still possible. If the natural parent has had little or no contact with the child or has not properly cared for the child despite having the ability to do so, his or her consent may not be required.
An experienced adoption lawyer will help you determine the steps that are necessary to assure that your stepparent adoption is completed as effortlessly as possible.