Step-Parent and Family Adoptions – Greenville and Upstate South Carolina

Greenville and Upstate South Carolina – Family Court – Step-Parent Adoptions

In South Carolina, the Adoption Statute can be complex but there is some simplicity when you have a Step-Parent who wants to adopt a Step-Child.  We call these Step-Parent Adoptions and I summarize the process below:

  1. Consent of the Blood-Parent – The most important step in this process is to discuss it with the Blood-Parent who the Step-Parent will be replacing. In most instances, the Blood-Parent has not been involved in the life of the child.  I also often see that they are under an order to pay child support but are behind or have a history with abuse or neglect.  So, they may consent to a termination of their rights to allow for an adoption so as to have their support terminated or to prevent a child from going to a stranger;
  2. Consent Relinquishment and Complaint for Termination and Adoption – If the Blood-Parent has agreed to have his/her rights terminated, you now have them fill out a Consent Relinquishment. The name of the pleading speaks for itself; this document signifies that the Blood-Parent is voluntarily giving up his/her rights.  These pleadings must be filled out with an attorney, but once they are done, the biggest hurdle is complete.  Generally, the Consent Relinquishment is filed with the Summons and Complaint for Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption.  In this instance, the allegations in the Complaint indicate the existence of the Consent Relinquishment;
  3. Guardian ad Litem – A Guardian ad Litem must be hired to protect the best interests of the minor child. However, in most of these instances, the investigation is short as the case isn’t contested.  If the child and Adoptive Parent have a bond then this will likely be enough to prompt the Guardian to approve of the adoption.
  4. Final Order – After the steps above are complete, the final hearing in the matter generally takes place without the presence of the Blood-Parent. There are certain questions that the attorney asks the remaining Blood-Parent and the Step-Parent to prove stability and financial ability to support the child.  At the conclusion of the Hearing, the Judge will sign the Adoption Order is he/she is satisfied that it is best for the child.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Step-Parents Only? – The above process often applies to people other than Step-Parents. The consistent facts as to application are that the child has a parent-like relationship with the Adoptive person and that the parent(s) consent.
  2. Open Adoptions – Often times the Blood-Parent may retain the right to limited visitation. This type of agreement is generally approved as long as the Guardian ad Litem also agrees.
  3. Can I Terminate My Own Rights? – No. The Adoptive-Parent needs to be the Plaintiff in the action.

__________________

Please remember that each case is unique. If you have any questions about Step-Parent Adoptions, Adoptions, Termination of Parental Rights, Child Custody or Family Law in general, we urge you to contact us. In order to be flexible and convenient, we have open office hours, easy appointment scheduling, and payment plans available. Call today and schedule your free confidential consultation.

Our law office serves people across the Upstate, South Carolina, including: Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens, and Oconee counties.