Everything You Need To Know About Adopting Your Stepchild In Louisiana
Remarried couples commonly have blended families. Many step parents fall in love with the children they are raising and want to adopt the kids as their own. Although Louisiana adoptions can have lengthy processes and restrictions, the process of adopting your stepchild is usually less comprehensive.
The Legal Requirements for Adopting a Stepchild in Louisiana
- Candidates need to be at least 21 years old.
- Have enough income to cover their necessities.
- Be in sound physical, mental, and emotional condition.
- Applicants for adoption must be committed to using only constructive methods of discipline and cannot subject the kid to any physical punishment.
- Complete the training program for adoptive parents.
- Provide enough residential space for the child.
- Pass a criminal background check and a caseworker’s home assessment.
- In Louisiana law, the petitioner must have had legal or physical custody of the child for at least six months before submitting the adoption petition.
- The court has terminated the birth parent’s rights, or the parents have relinquished their rights.
- The petitioner is either a single person or a married person whose spouse is a joint petitioner.
Forms and Documents Needed to Complete the Process
In Louisiana, specific publishing companies are authorized to stock and sell legal records used in court proceedings to the public. The forms’ contents, according to Louisiana State Legislature, are as follows:
- The petitioner’s complete name, address, age, job, and marital status.
- Both the name of the child known by the petitioners and the name listed when the child is born.
- The location and date of the child’s birth is known; if not, the child’s approximate age.
- A list of both parents whose approval is required for the adoption along with documentation of that approval, or a list of all the parents along with a justification for not requiring their support if it is permissible.
- The reasonable efforts align with Article 1135(B) if the child’s claimed father is unknown.
- The date and circumstances of the child’s entry into the petitioner’s home.
- Existing connections between the petitioner and the child.
The required legal documents include the following:
- A valid copy of the child’s birth certificate.
- Marriage certificate of the petitioner.
- Divorce decrees between the biological parents (if they were married.)
- A certified copy of the death certificate should be obtained if the absent parent has died.
- An address to process the petition if the noncustodial parent is still alive.
- Evidence confirming stable income.
Fees Associated with the Adoption
The cost of a stepchild adoption varies depending on individual needs because each adoption involves different circumstances. Here are some of the factors that contribute to this overall cost:
A stepchild adoption lawyer will guide you through each stage of the legal procedure, resolving any queries and worries you may have along the way. An adoption with no contestations and documents that an attorney can fill swiftly and efficiently will take less from an attorney. On the other hand, adoptions, where the noncustodial parent is unidentified or actively challenges the adoption, can be challenging to the attorney. Such situations could raise or lower total attorney costs.
Includes costs associated with gathering and filing the appropriate adoption documents. Courts are very explicit about how they want the paperwork submitted, and the petition is somewhat thorough. Due to the professional nature of the documentation and filing, some expenditures will arise, but they will generally be modest.
Judicial costs will vary depending on each case, including whether you need to appear in court for a finalization hearing or whether the court will require other appearances during your adoption procedure.
Any Required Background Checks
There can be a fee for a social worker to come to the stepparent’s home and do a home study. Some situations could call for multiple visits. Additionally, the stepparent should pay a small cost for a criminal record check. If not waived by the court, the background checks usually consist of fingerprinting and criminal history checks.
You can also be required to go to family counseling by the court. Counseling fees can vary, but you might have some control over them. Even if the court does not mandate it, family counseling could be an intelligent investment because your entire family will undergo a significant transformation.
New Birth Certificate
Acquiring a new birth certificate signifies that a stepparent has successfully crossed the finish line. This seemingly insignificant piece of paper serves as the child’s official transfer of ownership to the stepparent and will cost a small fee.
Strategies for a Smooth Family Transition
The journey from adoption to parenthood might present several common difficulties. Here are some tips for the stepparent to ease the adjustment:
Adopting a kid brings unforeseen, novel, and exciting changes. Being ready for its positive and negative aspects will help a family to learn and develop as a unit and establish a new normal.
Open the Door to Communication
Include the existing children in the adoption decision-making process and reassure them that nothing will change due to the adoption. Additionally, establishing communication with the stepchild fosters a feeling of support, enabling the child to communicate with the stepparent about anything.
It may take some time for the youngster and other family members to acclimatize to the change. Everyone requires time and space to become comfortable eventually.
Be Open and Honest
Adjusting to a new family and way of life might take work. Discussing expectations with domestic children and the new son or daughter is beneficial. Children will be less likely to experience adjustment issues if they comprehend that there will inevitably be some days that are better than others.
Adopting a stepchild is a beautiful way to expand a family and share in the happiness of providing the new child with a more fulfilling life. However, the adoption procedure can be complex and stretched out. Ensuring that everything runs correctly requires rigorous attention to detail. Adoptive parents can employ an attorney to assist them in navigating the legal system.