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What if you’re spouse’s ex is miles out of the picture, and you want to adopt your stepchild? Shouldn’t that be easy, since you’ve been living with your stepchild and guiding them like Internet a parent does? Well, it may not be as easy as you would think.

If you’re faced with the question, “How can I adopt my stepchild?” there may be several options depending on your specific circumstances. One such circumstance is when the real parent is willing to first waive their parental rights and consent to the adoption. However, as you can imagine, many parents aren’t Nba willing to do this. If the parent does not willingly give up his or her parenting rights, they may possibly be terminated if either (a) the parent is unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibilities to the child or (b) the conduct or condition of the parent is such as to render him or her unable to properly care for the child and such conduct or condition will probably continue.

However, those conditions can seem a little vague. To clear things up, there’s a list of criteria, called “The McCart Principles,” that help determine if the parental rights should be terminated. They are:

(1) abandonment of the child by the parents;

(2) emotional or Carlo mental illness of deficiency of the parents;

(3) excessive use of alcohol or controlled substance by the parents;

(4) torture, abuse, or other cruel treatment of the child or a sibling by the parents;

(5) conviction and imprisonment of the parents for so a felony;

(6) unexplained serious physical injury to the child in circumstances which indicate that the injury resulted from the intentional conduct or willful neglect by the parent;

(7) reasonable efforts to rehabilitate the parents are unsuccessful; and

(8) where the child is in the custody of one other than a parent, the failure of the parent to support, visit, or communicate with the child, The or work to adjust circumstances to meet the child’s needs.

Finally, abandonment of the child for a certain period of time qualifies as “a rebuttable presumption that the parents are unable or unwilling to act as parents.” If you’re trying to adopt your stepchild and you want to know more about the process and options that are particular to your circumstances, contact Katie for help. For 10 factors courts look at in deciding custody cases, click here.


Katie Crow LawKatie Crow is a family law and divorce attorney located in Opelika, Alabama.  Katie also practices in the surrounding areas of Auburn in Lee County, Chambers, Divorce Macon, Russell, and Tallapoosa counties in Alabama striving to help her clients with their legal needs.  Katie specializes in areas concerning divorce, child custody and parental rights, adoption, modifications, child support, paternity, and other legal services.



No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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logo-footer No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.