Yes, a stepparent can adopt their spouse’s child in Alabama so as long as they meet the court requirements to do so. Typically, when a stepparent is looking to adopt their stepchild, they will need to receive consent from the child’s other biological parent before a court will allow them to go through the adoption process. Additionally, the court also requires that the adoptee (i.e. the child) has lived with the petitioner (i.e. the stepparent) for at least one year [Source: Section 26-10A-27 of Alabama Code].
What if the stepchild’s biological parent abandoned the child?
Although an Alabama court will typically require that the stepparent who is looking to adopt their stepchild first receives consent to do so from their biological parent, there are times when the court will recognize an exception to this requirement. For example, if the child’s biological parent abandoned him/her, meaning they have not been around to provide the child with any emotional or financial support, then the stepparent may not be required to obtain consent from them.
Another exception would be if the child’s biological parent was stripped of their parental rights, whether it is attributed to a history of abuse or because the parent has been deemed by a court to be unfit to care for and provide for their child. When a stepparent isn’t required to obtain consent from a child’s biological parent, it can make the adoption process much easier to get through.
Are adoptions kept confidential?
According to the Probate Court of Jefferson County, Alabama, the Alabama Adoption Code was created to help keep the adoption process confidential. Therefore, the only individuals who would have access to adoption records include:
- The petitioner (i.e. the stepparent and biological parent who filed the adoption papers).
- An attorney who was retained or appointed by the minor who was adopted.
The only time someone else might be entitled to view adoption records is if they obtain a court order that shows they have a valid reason for wanting to review them. In addition to this, Alabama courts also do not allow the public to enter the courtroom when an adoption hearing is being conducted.
Hire an Alabama Family Law Lawyer to Help with the Adoption Process
If a stepparent is looking to adopt their stepchild, they do have the option of retaining an Alabama family law attorney who can help them through the process. Aside from handling all of the legal paperwork, a family law lawyer in Alabama will also be there to answer any questions or concerns as they arise. To connect with a family law firm in Alabama to discuss the adoption process in-depth, contact Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C.
Disclaimer: No representation is made that quality of legal services provided is greater than the quality of legal services provided by other attorneys.
Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. can be reached at:
2603 Moody Parkway, Suite 200
Moody, Alabama 35004
Phone: (205) 640-2000
7900 Parkway Drive
Leeds, AL 35094
Phone: (205) 699-5500
6441 U.S. Highway 11
Springville, Alabama 35146
Phone: (205) 467-2225