Step-Parent’s Rights and Adoption Lawyers Morris County NJ
Due to the increase in the divorce rate it is very common for children to have one or even two step-parents in their lives. This can raise some serious and sensitive issues surrounding child custody for the new step-parent. Any new step-parent needs to work hard to develop a new and meaningful relationship with the child, and as much as possible, avoid disrupting the relationship that already exists between the child and the biological parent. After building such an intimate bond and sometimes living with and caring for a step-child for many years, most step-parents rightfully have concerns about their rights in the event of divorce from the biological parent of the child.
If you or someone you know would like more information about adoption of a step-child as well as your or their rights and responsibilities, speak with an accomplished and experienced adoption attorney to guide you as you make these life-altering decisions. Contact the law firm of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark LLC in Morristown and Hackensack and serving all of Morris and Bergen Counties to tap into our vast experience and knowledge. Contact us and meet with our family law attorneys today at 973-840-8970.
Step-Parent’s Child Custody Lawyers Whippany NJ
Regardless of the length of the marriage to the biological parent, the harsh reality is that a step-parent has little to no rights to a step-child. A step-parent has no ability to petition for visitation or custody of the step-child during a divorce that supersedes the rights of the biological parents. Even in cases where the biological parent against whom the step-parent is seeking a divorce is an unfit parent, the custody of the child usually reverts to the other biological parent, not to the step-parent.
However, there are very limited exceptions, and it is not totally impossible for a step-parent to sometimes gain custody of a step-child. If a step-parent can prove that both parents are unfit and can demonstrate that abuse has occurred, a step-parent may be able to successfully petition for custody if he or she can also show that ending a relationship between the child and the step-parent would be detrimental and harmful to the child. However it is very important that any step-parent be aware that New Jersey courts will almost always have a preference for a blood relative to be the custodian of a child, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle.
Step-Parent Adoption Attorneys Morristown NJ
The only sure way for a step-parent to be guaranteed to be able to request custody or visitation is to adopt the child. For the court to grant a step-parent adoption, the spouse of the step-parent must agree. Moreover, the parental rights of the other biological parent must also be terminated, which can be very difficult if he or she is not willing. However, when the adoption is completed, the law views the step-parent as the biological and legal parent of the step-child with the same parental rights and obligations of any biological parent.
These rights and responsibility would carry through even in the event that a divorce were to occur in the future. These rights include the right to petition for child custody as well as child support. It is important to note that no stepparent should initiate an adoption if he or she does not intend to remain a legal parent of the child forever.
Contact our Whippany Family Law Attorneys Today
The family law lawyers at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, support and counsel clients in Morristown, Whippany, Medham, Morris, Randolph, and across the greater Morris County Area. The skilled and experienced attorneys will guide you through the practical and legal issues involved in any adoption. An adoption attorney will also ensure that all parties receive the qualified representation and counseling services aimed at protecting all parties involved and creating a healthy family unit at the resolution of the process.