When you are in a serious long-term relationship or married to somebody with a child, you might eventually think about adopting them. This is a big decision, but becoming a stepparent can be extremely rewarding. There are also some things you should know before beginning the adoption process.
Four steps to take before adopting a stepchild
Before you are allowed to adopt a child, you must meet at least one of the requirements laid out by the state of Louisiana. The most common condition that people meet is being over the age of 18 and married to a parent of the child. Other steps you must take before adopting the child include:
- Receiving permission: Courts will require you to obtain permission from the other parents before you are allowed to begin the adoption process. There are other options available if it seems unlikely that the other parent will give you consent. If you find yourself in this case, consulting with your lawyer might be the best option.
- Filing a petition: After receiving permission, you will need to fill out an application to adopt the child. You will also have to pass a background check to proceed with the process.
- Appearing in court: After you pass the background check, you will need to appear in court. Your spouse will be in attendance along with the child.
- Covering any adoption costs: Before the court allows you to adopt the child, you will have to pay any adoption fees. It is worth noting that you will not have to pay as much when adopting a stepchild. However, you still could have fairly high fees.
Going through this entire process can be challenging, specifically if you don’t have a legal background. Getting the help of an attorney can make this process much less stressful for everyone involved. They will be able to answer any questions that arise and ensure you meet all the requirements.