Step-Parent & Same-Sex Couple Adoptions
Adoption is the legal process to assuming parenting rights and obligations toward a child (and sometimes an adult!) who is not a biological descendent.
Step-parent (both in the context of heterosexual and same sex couples) adoption in Pennsylvania is a legal process that allows a step-parent to adopt their spouse’s child. This process is different from other types of adoption, as it does not require a home study (a report that assesses your suitability to be a parent) that might be a prerequisite in a typical adoption process.
Montgomery County, PA Family Law Firm – We Handle Adoption Matters
Our Montgomery County, PA family law firm will guide you through the adoption process with skill, energy, and compassion. Our law firm also facilitates adoption cases in Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia counties. For over a decade, firm founder Inna Materese has focused exclusively on family and divorce law in Pennsylvania. She has maintained leadership roles in the Montgomery County Bar Association Family Law Section since 2022.
Related Client Review: “Our family retained Inna Materese for custodial related issues. Inna is awesome, our family is grateful to have her! Inna is always prepared, very knowledgeable, professional and reliable.” Lawrence W. (June 2021)
Pennsylvania Adoption Law
The adoption process in Pennsylvania begins with filing a petition with the court. The petition must include a number of documents, such as the child’s birth certificate, your marriage certificate, and proof of residency.
Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether to grant the adoption. At the hearing, the court will hear testimony from you, your spouse, the child (if of an appropriate age), and any other relevant individuals. If the court grants the adoption, it will issue an order of adoption, which decrees the step-parent to be a formal legal parent of the child.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about adoption or step-parent adoption in Pennsylvania:
1. The adoption process can take several months to complete.
2. Each county has its own procedures, deadlines and requirements for step-parent adoption matters. It is important to be mindful of all necessary protocols when filing this procedure-laden type of case.
3. In the case of a step-parent seeking to adopt a child from their spouse’s prior relationship, it may be necessary to seek a termination of the other biological parent’s parental rights. A termination of parental rights is a process that should be thoroughly discussed and strategized with your attorney, if it is necessary in your case.
Consent to Adoption in PA
In some adoption cases in Pennsylvania, consent of some parties may be required. These include:
· the adoptee, if over age 12,
· the spouse of the adopting parent, unless they join in the adoption petition,
· the parents or surviving parent of the adoptee. if under the age of 18, and
· the guardian of an incapacitated adoptee.
Terminating Parental Rights
Under Pennsylvania law, a child can only have two parents. Therefore, a child cannot be formally adopted by a third parent unless one parent’s rights are terminated.
Termination of parental rights can be voluntary, if the terminated parent agrees, or involuntary. For involuntary termination of parental rights, the parent seeking a step-parent adoption must prove certain factual circumstances for the court to consider in deciding whether to terminate the other parent’s parental rights so that a step-parent can step in.
Pennsylvania Family & Divorce Law
Our Montgomery County family law firm handles adoption matters across the county including: Ambler, Blue Bell, Collegeville, Fort Washington, Jenkintown, King of Prussia, Lansdale, Oreland, Plymouth Meeting, Willow Grove, as well as the Main Line areas of Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Merion, and Narberth. Clients also accepted in Bucks County, Chester County, and Philadelphia.View All Services