Kansas adoptions can be full of long processes and requirements, yet when adopting your stepchild, the process is not always that extensive. Many stepparents fall in love with their stepchildren and wish to adopt them as their own. So how do you adopt your stepchild in Kansas?
To adopt a stepchild in Kansas, the stepparent wishing to adopt must obtain stepchild adoption court forms, often available at the local courthouse, or may be purchased online from a court form service. If the biological parent is contest the adoption, then hiring a lawyer is strongly encouraged.
In Kansas, there are a number of reasons why a stepparent might want to adopt their stepchild, including:
- When a child is adopted, a legal parent-child relationship is established that gives both parties rights and obligations.
- Adoption assures that a child has the right to inherit from an adopted parent in the event of that parent’s passing.
- Adoption gives a child a sense of permanence and security, particularly if the biological parent is absent or not active in their life.
- Adoption can deepen the link between the stepparent and the child and make the child feel more loved and secure.
- Enabling decision-making, adoption provides the stepparent with legal authority to take action on behalf of the child, such as making choices on their education, healthcare, and religion.
How to Adopt Your Stepchild in Kansas
To adopt your stepchild in Kansas you can either hire a lawyer, visit your local courthouse and ask if they provide stepchild adoption court form packets, or purchase court forms through a service that specializes in stepchild adoption court forms.
Hire an Adoption Lawyer
In Kansas, the adoption of a stepchild does not necessarily require the assistance of an attorney. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to consult with an adoption lawyer as they can provide advice and support during the process.
In addition, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) also offers guidance and assistance throughout the adoption process.
A lawyer in Kansas can provide guidance on the legal steps of adoption and ensure that all documents are properly filled out.
They will also make sure that everyone’s legal rights are protected, including the biological parent and the child.
A family law attorney can also help you deal with any complicated legal matters that could arise when adopting, such as if the biological parent refuses to give their consent or if there are issues related to the child’s guardianship.
Visit here for a board-certified adoption lawyer in Kansas.
Visit Your Local Courthouse
Kansas stepparents hoping to adopt their stepchild should consult with the local courthouse for information about what steps need to be taken. The courthouse typically has the knowledge and documents required for starting an adoption.
To begin adoption proceedings in Kansas, you’ll need to acquire a court form packet from the local courthouse providing they have them.
These packets usually provide all the necessary instructions and forms to complete the adoption process, including adoption petitions, consent forms, and other legal documents.
In addition, some of these packets may also comprise details on completing a home study, which is commonly mandated for adoptions in Kansas.
Find a local Kansas courthouse near you.
Purchase Stepchild Adoption Court Forms Through a Service
In Kansas, stepparents wishing to adopt their stepchild can purchase stepchild adoption court forms from online services such as Stepparentadoptionforms.com. There are numerous options available that make obtaining these documents much more convenient than having to go to the local courthouse.
When buying stepchild adoption court forms from a service, make sure they are precise to Kansas and up-to-date with recent laws and regulations.
You’ll want to also make sure the forms come with instructions on how to complete and submit them to the court as well. Although, some court form services will fill out the forms for you.
When purchasing legal forms, it is not a substitute for obtaining professional legal advice and it is strongly suggested that you consult with a lawyer to guarantee that all necessary requirements are fulfilled and the process goes smoothly.
In fact, court form services do not and will not provide legal advice and only assist in making sure you have the court forms you need and instructions on how to file them with the courthouse.
Furthermore, make sure to read the instructions for these forms carefully, then check with your local courthouse to ensure that you meet any applicable laws or regulations.
Visit here for more information on the requirements to adopt in Kansas.
Curious about how much it would cost to adopt your stepchild? We put together an article just for you.
In Kansas, the process stepparents must follow to adopt their stepchildren are as follows:
Filing of the Petition for Adoption
In Kansas, filing an adoption petition with the court is the initial step for stepparents who want to adopt their stepchild. This petition informs the court about the stepparent and the child and declares the stepparent’s intent to adopt the child.
The following details ought to be included in the petition:
- The names, addresses, and dates of birth of the child, the other biological parent, and the stepparent.
- An explanation of the motivations for the adoption request.
- An explanation of the bond between the child and the stepparent.
- Unless their rights have been terminated or they are no longer alive, a consent form signed by the other biological parent is required.
The petition must be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee, which is determined by the county in which the adoption occurs.
Certain courts may also have additional forms or documents that need to be submitted with them.
It’s important to note that the petition for adoption must be filed in the county where the child currently resides.
Once the petition is submitted, the court will assign a case number and schedule a hearing.
The stepparent must give notice of the hearing to the other biological parent and anyone else with an interest in the case.
The hearing is typically planned several weeks after the original filing, and its purpose is to decide if the adoption serves the best interests of the child.
Home Study and Background Check
For stepparents wishing to adopt their stepchild in Kansas, the next step is to complete a home study and background check. This is mandated by the state and must be done through a certified state agency.
The goal of the home study is to ensure that the child will have a secure and healthy living atmosphere.
This usually involves an evaluation of the stepparent’s house, such as the environment, security, and cleanliness.
The social worker doing the home study may also talk to both the stepparent and other people in their household, as well as the child, to understand how the child is being taken care of and what capabilities the stepparent has in attending to the child.
A background check is conducted to verify that the stepparent does not have a criminal record or any history of abuse or neglect.
This evaluation normally entails a check of the stepparent’s legal record and any past family court or child protection records.
Typically, the home study and background check process take several weeks to finish.
With the report provided to the court, they will review it in order to make a decision on whether or not to proceed with the adoption.
It is essential to recognize that the home study and background check process are not easy, but it is a critical step to guarantee the child’s security in a secure and healthy atmosphere.
Consent of the Biological Parent
In Kansas, a stepparent wanting to adopt their stepchild must obtain consent from the biological parent unless their rights have been severed or the parent has passed away. This is an essential element of the adoption process.
A notarized consent form must be signed by the biological parent which documents their agreement to the adoption.
It should include their name, address, and birthdate as well as an acknowledgment that they are aware the adoption will sever their parental rights and obligations.
A biological parent’s consent may be voluntary or obtained through a court-issued order.
If the biological parent does not give consent or cannot be found, the court may still approve the adoption if it is in the best interest of the child.
It is noteworthy that biological parent consent may not be necessary for certain situations such as if the biological parent’s rights are terminated or they have abandoned the child.
Termination of the Biological Parent’s Rights
In situations where the biological parent is unable or unwilling to care for the child, or if they have abandoned the child, stepparent adoption can occur. The parental rights of the biological parent may be voluntarily or involuntarily terminated.
When the biological parent willingly gives up their rights to their child, they must sign a voluntary termination form.
This is often done when the parent can’t take care of the child or wants them to be adopted by the stepparent.
After consent has been provided, the court will continue with the adoption proceedings.
The court may choose to end the biological parent’s rights involuntarily if they find evidence of neglect or abuse, or if the parent has abandoned their child.
When making this decision, numerous factors are taken into consideration such as the child’s safety and well-being.
It is essential to understand that terminating a biological parent’s rights is a serious and complicated matter, so it is highly recommended to get legal assistance before proceeding.
Finalization of the Adoption
After finishing all necessary steps, such as filing the petition for adoption, a court will assign a hearing to finish the adoption. This is the last step in the process and marks when the stepparent officially becomes the child’s parent.
At the hearing, the stepparent must provide evidence of the adoption and answer any questions from the court. Depending on the court’s regulations, the child may also need to be present.
The court will analyze all evidence, including the home study and background check, with the primary consideration being what is in the best interest of the child.
If allowed, an order of adoption will be issued, making the stepparent legally responsible for the child.
If you are considering adoption, it’s essential to bear in mind that the adoption may take several months or longer to finalize, depending on the situation.
An advantage of adoption is that upon its completion, the stepparent will have all of the rights and responsibilities of a parental figure for the adopted child.
The child will then need their birth certificate updated and will have the option to take on the stepparent’s surname.
Should I Adopt My Stepchild?
A part of life is that many parents find themselves remarried with stepchildren. You may be asking yourself, should I adopt my stepchild?
You should adopt your stepchild if you are prepared for a lifelong commitment. Adoption is permanent, and you cannot change your mind should you and your spouse later decide to divorce. If you are prepared to love and honor your commitment to your adopted stepchild, you should adopt your stepchild.
If you are considering adopting your stepchild or stepchildren, there are some things you will want to think about before taking the plunge.
It is safe to assume that you love your stepchild, so let’s go over some things to make sure you have covered all your bases.
It is important to remember that adopting your stepchild is a lifelong commitment. You may have a very good marriage now, but even good marriages can turn rocky.
At the beginning of a new marriage, you are in love and over the moon with happiness. Having romantic ideas of how the family dynamics will be is normal and sets a positive path forward.
Just know that you cannot simply change your mind about the adoption down the road if your marriage does not work out.
If you are unwilling to continue the parent/child relationship if your marriage goes south, then you should not adopt your stepchild.
Should the marriage end in divorce, you will still need to have cordial communications with the child’s other parent to co-parent your child.
Other things to consider would be if your marriage ended in divorce, you would be financially responsible for half of the expense of raising the child.
After a divorce, you would still be tied to your spouse for life, as you would both have a child together. Until the child turns 18 years of age, there will still be periods when the child resides with you.
No one wants to think about the possibility of divorce when things feel so right. Statistically, however, about half of all marriages end in divorce.
If you are not willing to make a lifelong commitment to a child, then you should not adopt the child.
Providing you do decide to proceed with the adoption of your stepchild, keep in mind that there are things you will want and need to do afterward to tie up any loose ends.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Adopt My Stepchild?
It’s a common question, do you need a lawyer to adopt your stepchild?
You do not need a lawyer to adopt your stepchild. Visit your local courthouse to acquire the required court forms and a list of requirements. Although you are not required to have an attorney to adopt your stepchild, hiring an attorney for any life-changing event is highly recommended.
You most certainly do not need an attorney to adopt your stepchild, as the process is a bit less complicated than other types of adoption.
Do-It-Yourself Stepparent Adoption in Kansas
Attorneys are nice to have and can do the leg work for you, but you most certainly do not need an attorney to adopt your stepchild.
If you are feeling a bit lost and want more information on starting your adoption journey, you may want to visit Kansas Adoption Requirements: Complete Guide.
Just keep in mind that many of the requirements will not apply to you if you are already residing with your stepchild.
Providing there is no anticipated legal battle from one of the biological parents, then one would be encouraged to obtain the court forms from your local courthouse, usually available to download online.
You may also wish to contact your local Department of Human Resources to speak to someone about how to process your adoption petition or reach out to your local courthouse.
Most courthouses have what is called a facilitator who helps guide you in the steps you need to take to complete legal processes without a lawyer.
Stepparent Adoption Contested by Biological Parent
Adopting a stepchild involves obtaining the permission of both biological parents. You will need the blessing of your spouse as well as the other parent.
How will the biological parent feel about the idea of a stepparent wanting to adopt their child? This depends on the relationship between the biological parent and the child.
There are times when the other parent will voluntarily terminate their rights to their child. Perhaps there is very little relationship between the parent and child.
If the stepparent has taken on the active parenting role, and if the biological parent recognizes their lack of involvement, they may agree to know the adoption decision is in the best interest of their child.
When the biological parent’s rights are terminated, it also frees them from court-ordered financial obligations. Sadly, this can be a huge motivating factor for some biological parents to voluntarily terminate their rights to their children.
What do you do, though, if the biological parent refuses to give permission and contests the adoption? States will almost always only allow two parents to have parental rights to a child. However, there have been a few cases where the courts have allowed three parents.
States are required to take the parental rights of the biological parent very seriously and will only terminate their parental rights if the parent is proven to be unfit, is not the true biological parent, or has in essence abandoned the child.
A parent can be found to be unfit for several reasons. Examples of an unfit parent can be things like being abusive or neglectful. Are they incarcerated or have they been incarcerated?
Is the biological parent’s home environment safe for this child? What type of people do they hang out with and have visited their home? Many things can deem a parent unfit.
For a parent to be accused of parental abandonment, the parent must not have spent any time with the child or paid child support in a very long time, usually a year.
If there is a question of paternity and it can be proven through the court system that the “biological” parent is not the parent, after all, that opens the door for adoption possibilities.
However, the rights tend to be placed with the biological parent, so that can be a tricky scenario.
Telling a Child Their Stepparent is Adopting Them
Depending on the age of this child being adopted, you will most certainly be excited to tell them the good news! In some states, a child over a certain age will need to permit to be adopted.
Not telling the child they are being adopted by the stepparent can create mistrust and hurt down the road, so think twice if you were planning on not telling them until later.
I strongly encourage you to not keep the adoption hidden from the child or children. Allow them the opportunity to be excited about being adopted! Involve them in the process and celebrate!
And hats off to you if you are a stepparent considering adopting your stepchild. It takes a huge heart and unconditional love to adopt a child that is not biologically yours.
And when you are helping raise a child, you are already a huge part of their life whether you make it official or not.
What are the Home Study Requirements for Stepparent Adoptions in Kansas?
Prior to permitting an adoption to take place, a home study or home study is a screening of the home and lives of potential adoptive parents.
A home study is needed by legislation in some countries, as well as in all international adoptions. Even though it isn’t legally needed, an adoption agency may insist on it.
Step-parent home studies are required by law for every step-parent who wishes to adopt their step-child.
The court uses the home study to establish if the potential adoptive parent is physically and emotionally capable of providing a stable and caring home for a child or children.
Does the Stepchild Have to Consent to an Adoption in Kansas?
A child who is fourteen (14) years and older must provide signed consent to their own adoption in Kansas. Younger children are not required to give their consent.
You are encouraged to proceed with a stepparent adoption during a time when your stepchild will react favorably to knowing you are adopting them.
Important to remember when planning to adopt your stepchild is that it is likely your stepchild has been through quite a lot.
Absent biological parents not voluntarily involved in their child’s life can be a painful emotion to live with for your stepchild.
Another thing to consider is the timing of the stepparent adoption. Was there a divorce previous to your marriage with your stepchild’s parent that your stepchild is still reeling from?
Children often suffer emotionally from the loss of a biological parent. Even a marriage viewed as a positive step forward takes time for a child to adjust to.
Consider letting the dust settle between major life events.
Can a Child Be Adopted Without the Father’s Consent in Kansas?
Under citation code Ann. Stat. §§ 59-2129; 59-2136(d), a father’s consent to an adoption in the state of Kansas involves the following.
Consent to an independent adoption shall be given by:
- The living parents of the child
- One of the parents of the child, if the other’s consent is found unnecessary under § 59‑2136
- The judge of any court has jurisdiction over the child pursuant to the code for care of children if parental rights have not been terminated
The court may terminate the father’s parental rights upon a finding, by clear and convincing evidence, of any of the following:
- The father abandoned or neglected the child after having knowledge of the child’s birth.
- The father is unfit as a parent or incapable of giving consent.
- The father has made no reasonable efforts to support or communicate with the child.
- The father, after having knowledge of the pregnancy, failed without reasonable cause to provide support for the mother during the 6 months prior to the child’s birth.
- The father abandoned the mother after having knowledge of the pregnancy.
- The birth of the child was the result of the rape of the mother.
- The father has failed or refused to assume the duties of a parent for 2 consecutive years immediately prior to the filing of the petition.
Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC
About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina is a seasoned writer, content creator, and website owner with a passion for unbiased research, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.