Q:

Can my husband adopt my daughter?

A:

Each state has its own laws regarding the adoption of a non-biological child by a spouse. In most cases, adoption requires the consent of the biological parent. Some states may also require the child to give consent. Adoption might be possible without consent in cases of non-custodial parent abandonment.

Consent is a major issue in the adoption process for spouses wishing to adopt a partner's child. The first step is to consult state law concerning parental consent issues. If the child's biological parent is living, and is in contact with the child, adoption is possible, but not assured. If the non-custodial parent is not involved in the child's life, the court may decide to terminate parental rights.

Once parental rights are terminated, the way is clear to move forward in the adoption process. In the case of abandonment, a willful failure to show support for a child's welfare for a year or more is often sufficient grounds to terminate parental rights.

In some states, consent to adopt must also come from a minor child, usually between the ages of 10 and 14. In this instance, the state deems the child old enough to decide whether he wishes to be adopted. Once all of the legal hurdles are cleared, a spouse can proceed with the adoption through the court.

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