Adopt A Stepchild: Becoming A Legal Parent To A Stepchild
In today’s world, blended families are a regular part of life. In some families, the stepchildren are so much a part of the stepparents life that they chose to legally become a parent to that child. Adopting stepchildren is the process in Alberta to do this. If you are thinking of adopting stepchildren into your life, call the lawyers at Kahane Law Office. We understand the importance and deep meaning of taking this wonderful step in caring and loving a stepchild. Call us today. In Calgary call 403-225-8810 and in Edmonton call 780-571-8463.
Why Adopt Stepchildren?
While there are many legal reasons as to why people adopt stepchildren (see below) the most important is the love and caring for a child that a step parent has. While the actual relationship may not change after an adoption, adopting stepchildren has an emotional impact similar to marriage. It is a legal step that has an emotional impact that ties a family together.
The Process To Legally Adopt A Step Child
The process for stepparents adopting stepchildren is one by court application. For these applications, it is the Alberta Court Of Queen’s Bench that rules on such matters. The filings and court appearances occur at the Court of Queen’s Bench closest to you. (for example, adopting stepchildren in Calgary, occurs in the Calgary Court Center. Adoptions in Edmonton happens in the Edmonton Court Center) With the application filing, you must also include the required affidavits, applicable consents, and other supporting materials. Due to the technical nature of adoption proceedings, lawyers are retained to prepare, file and appear in court for the legal adoption process.
Getting Consent To Adopt A Child
When adopting stepchildren in Alberta, certain consensual requirements exist. Which consent is required is going to depend on your specific situation. When you are adopting stepchildren, you may require consent when:
The Stepchild Is Over 12 Years Old
In situations where a child is over 12 years old, the requirement exists for specific consent in Alberta.
The Consent Of Birth Parents In Step Parent Adoption
Where a birth parent of a stepchild being adopted is still alive, that birth parent must give consent. There are serious legal ramifications of consenting to allow your child to be adopted by his or her step-parent. Accordingly, birth parent consent must be signed either in front of a lawyer or with a representative of the Ministry Of Social Services.
The Consent Of The Court For Adopting Stepchildren
In some situations, the Court will have to consent to the adoption of stepchildren, or dispense with the consent required by either the child or the birth parent. The court always looks at the best interest of the child before allowing the adopting of stepchildren. Such situations may include absentee or abusive birth parents. There are also situations where the court will allow a step parent to adopt a step child when the step child does not give consent. The courts are very reluctant to dispense of either consent without significant cause. Our lawyers can advise you on your specific situation, as well as make the Court applications in this regard. The court will always look at what is in the best interest of the child before granting an Order to allow the adoption of stepchildren.
What Are Legal Ramifications Of Adopting Stepchildren
After adopting stepchildren, you become a legal parent of those stepchildren. This means that you legally have all the rights, responsibilities, duties and obligations that a birth parent has. You step into the shoes of a parent. You are that child’s legal parent and appear as so on the child’s birth record. For example after adopting stepchildren you:
- Can legally make medical and educational decisions for the child;
- Are a legal guardian of that child;
- Can legally consent to things on behalf of that child;
- Are legally responsible for the welfare of that child; and lastly
- Would be responsible for child support in the event of a relationship breakdown.
Adoption Lawyers To Adopt A Stepchild In Calgary & Edmonton
Adopting a child is a exciting and important step. For an appointment with a member of our adoption team to discuss your adoption of a stepchild, call Kahane Law Office in either Edmonton or Calgary Alberta today. You can reach us locally in Edmonton at 780-571-8463, Calgary at 403-225-8810 (toll-free at 1-877-225-8817), or email us directly here.