According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, more than three million children live in a household with a stepparent. In many situations, the stepparent "steps up" and stands in the shoes of a biological parent who has abandoned the child. To add insult to injury, the biological parent still has superior rights to the stepparent. In fact, the stepparent may be viewed as a "stranger" to the child in the eyes of the law. You might be able to prove that the biological parent has abandoned the child, but the presumption will be that the biological parent's rights are superior.
Thankfully there is a way to take the "step" out of stepparent. By following Arkansas' Stepparent adoption laws, you can become the legal parent of the child. Once the adoption decree is final, the rights of the biological parent will be severed and from that point forward, YOU are the legal parent of the child. You can even change the names of the birth parents and the child once the adoption is final.
Most stepparent adoptions are uncontested and can be completed in a month or so. Arkansas stepparent adoption laws are simpler than other types of adoption, but you need to make sure that you follow all the legal formalities. You will need to have the consent of your spouse, the "absent" biological parent, and the child if he/she is older than twelve. If the missing biological parent refuses to consent, there are ways to prove to the court that their consent should be waived.
If the time has come for you to take the "step" out, schedule a free, no obligation consultation with Attorney Chuck Buchan by clicking the "Set Appointment" button below.