A How To Guide For Adopting Step-Children in Alberta
Adoption is a legal procedure in which an adult becomes the legal parent of someone who is not his or her biological child. While there are many legal reasons as to why people adopt stepchildren the most important is the love and caring for a child that a step parent has. While the actual relationship may not change after an adoption, adopting stepchildren has an emotional impact that can tie a family together.
How The Adoption Process Works In Alberta
The Court of Queen’s Bench rules on matters of step-parents adopting their step-children by court application. Affidavits, consents, and other supporting materials must be included with the application. Lawyers are often retained to prepare, file and appear in court for the legal process. Parties have the option to self-represent however, this process can be very time consuming and difficult to navigate on your own. The documents for the application must be served on the Minister, all guardians other than the applicant parent involved in the application, the biological father even though he may not be a guardian, and the child (if they are over the age of 12).
What is Required for Adopting A Step Child
An adoptive parent will assume the rights, duties and responsibilities of the child. The Court must be satisfied that the adopting parent is capable of becoming a parent to the child and that it is in the best interests of the child to be adopted. When adopting step-children in Alberta, there are certain consents that must be required depending on your specific situation. Consents to the adoption of the child is required by the birth parents, guardians and any child over the age of 12 years. There are serious legal ramifications of consenting to allow your child to be adopted by his or her step-parent. Accordingly, birth parent consent must be signed either in front of a lawyer or with a representative of the Ministry Of Social Services.
Legal Consequences of an Adoption
Once the adoption takes place, the step-parent will be treated no differently than a parent. The birth parent loses all their rights, duties and responsibilities for that child. This means that they will have no further legal standing with respect to making decisions for, spending time with, or being responsible for the child.
Adoption creates families and should be a joyful experience. However, without proper support from a qualified lawyer, it can be an overly long, frustrating and expensive process. Our lawyers are experienced family lawyers able to help with the legal details in the context of unique family situations. For more information about how we can help you with your adoption, contact us for a consultation.