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Step-parent adoption increasing in popularity in Cass County

In many cases, the adoption process completes the family and creates a healthy environment for the child involved.
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    January 18, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Step-parent adoption increasing in popularity in Cass County

Article provided by Melinda Weerts Law, PLLC
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Although a step-parent is a critical influence in a child's life to begin with, they may wish to become a permanent fixture and legally adopt their step-child in Cass County. By adopting their step-child, the step-parent accepts full legal, physical and emotional responsibility for the child. In many cases, this process completes the family and creates a healthy environment for the child involved. Step-parent adoption is often easier than a traditional adoption; however, it still has specific requirements as determined by the state.

The adoption process

After making the life-changing decision to adopt a step-child:
-Consider partnering with a family law attorney to ensure that the adoption process is carried out properly. An experienced attorney may be able to prevent any serious issues from occurring due to paperwork being filed improperly.
-Dissolution of parental rights must be established by the non-participating parent. They must either sign a document waiving their parental rights, or it may be decided that the parent has abandoned the child if they have had no contact with the child for at least one year.
-File a petition to adopt the child with the Court and serve that petition on the North Dakota Department of Human Services. If your child is old enough, he or she may need to sign an Affidavit, or sworn statement, expressing the desire to be adopted. Keep in mind that you must be a resident of North Dakota for at least six months before you are able to submit your application for adoption.
-In most cases, the Department of Human Services will waive any further notice of hearings and any further participation in the case. A home study is not required to be completed in a step-parent adoption case, and in most case, the Department will consent to the adoption by a step-parent without one.
-Finally you are able to finalize the adoption. Bring your child and any other family members you want to attend with you to the hearing. Don't forget your camera, as most judges are very happy to pose with the family for a picture on such a special day.
-Don't forget to order a new birth certificate with your child's new surname.

Benefits of adopting

While many step parents are content with being addressed as a step-parent, there are several benefits to legally adopting your step-child. Some of these benefits include:
-Uniting the family with the same last name. Although it may sound trivial, having the same last name as the rest of the family can be extremely important to children and helps them to feel totally included.
-You can avoid any title discrepancies, whether with the child's physician or at their school. You will be able to legally establish yourself as their parent and won't have to deal with any issues that a step-parent title may bring.
-Becoming a legal parent will provide a sense of emotional stability and physical permanence to a child who may already have issues of abandonment.
-Step-parent adoption helps to break down any barriers that may exist between step-siblings and biological siblings.
-Adoption provides a congruency in inheritance, insurance, and guardianship.

There are many valid reasons why step-parent adoption can be beneficial for everyone involved.

Partner with a professional

When going through the adoption process, you may want partner with a legal professional in order to get the best results. A knowledgeable family law attorney in Cass County will ensure that your adoption runs smoothly.

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