It has been said that stepparents and stepchildren are brought together by choice and strengthened by love. If you have found this to be true and would like to become your stepchild’s legal parent, please read on, then contact one of our skilled adoption attorneys in Bergen County, NJ to learn what you should know about stepparent adoption in New Jersey.
What you should know about stepparent adoption in New Jersey
A stepparent’s adoption of a stepchild is one of the most common forms of adoption. If a stepparent adopts the stepchild, he or she becomes a legal parent to the child in every way. Afterward, you will have the legal right to make the following decisions:
- What kind of medical care the child will receive
- Which school the child will attend
- What religion the child will practice
- The amount and quality of time spent with a harmful biological parent
- Any other important decisions a biological parent would be able to make
Keep in mind, that as your stepchild’s legal parent, should you and the child’s biological parent divorce, you may have to pay child support.
How do stepparent adoptions work in New Jersey?
If you want to adopt your stepchild, you must have the consent or agreement of both your spouse and the child’s other parent, i.e. the noncustodial parent, unless that parent has abandoned the child. By giving his or her consent, the noncustodial parent gives up all rights and responsibilities, including child support. Given sufficient reason, the court can also decide that it does not require the noncustodial parent’s consent to proceed.
Why should you hire a family law attorney for a stepparent adoption in New Jersey?
Hiring an attorney is not required to adopt a stepchild, but it is highly recommended. Sometimes, the noncustodial parent, despite being a toxic influence, will not relinquish custody of his or her biological child. In that instance, you will need to reach out to one of our Bergen County NJ family law and divorce attorneys. We will obtain and prepare the documents, witness statements and other evidence necessary to prove your case. If you want to demonstrate your ongoing devotion to your stepchild by becoming their legal parent, you will need quality legal representation.
Contact our experienced Bergen County firm
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.