In today’s society, stepparents often play an important role in the lives of children. Many couples with blended families chose to pursue stepparent adoption to create solid family bonds and ties.
Under Kentucky law, an adoption terminates the parental rights of the biological parent. Kentucky law recognizes that biological parents have a strong constitutionally protected right to parent their children. To terminate this constitutionally protected right through an adoption, Kentucky law requires one of two things- (1) that the parent whose rights are being terminated consent to the adoption, or (2) that the party seeking to adopt the child prove the biological parent’s rights should be terminated involuntarily.
Option 1 is obviously the easier option and a can be accomplished by having the consenting biological parent sign a consent form containing specific language required under Kentucky law. Option 2 more difficult. To terminate the parental rights of the biological parent without his or her consent, a Kentucky court must determine that certain statutory factors exist with respect to the child. Those statutory factors are beyond the scope of this blog, but generally involve abandonment of the child by the biological parent, harm to the child by the biological parent, or the parent’s failure to support the child for a period of time.
A stepparent adoption can be a wonderful thing for a family. While the adoption process can appear daunting, an experienced adoption attorney can simplify the process and ensure that your adoption goes smoothly. The attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey have handled many adoptions over the years and are available to discuss options if you are considering the process.