In Kansas, there are three types of adoption: 1) agency adoption, 2) private adoption, and 3) step-parent adoption. With the family dynamic constantly evolving, it is becoming more common for courts to hear cases regarding step-parent adoptions. The question my clients most often ask about step-parent adoption is: How much say do the biological parents have in the granting of a petition for step-parent adoption?
If a mother consents to the adoption of her child by a spouse and that child has a presumed or legitimate father, adoption is generally permitted only if the presumed or legitimate father consents to the adoption. But, if the presumed or legitimate father has failed or refused to assume the duties of a parent for two consecutive years immediately preceding the filing of the step-parent adoption petition, his consent is not required. If a father with knowledge of the child’s birth has knowingly failed to provide a substantial portion of child support ordered by judicial decree, a rebuttable presumption arises that that father has failed or refused to assume the duties of a parent.
If a presumed father exists but his whereabouts are unknown, courts may appoint an attorney to represent father. If no person is identified as the father or a possible father, the court will order publication notice of the hearing in such manner as the court deems appropriate.
Courts may also evaluate the best interests of the child and the fitness of the non-consenting parent when determining whether to grant a step-parent adoption petition.
If you are considering step-parent adoption, it is important to review all information regarding adoptions in Kansas and to be well informed of how the law may impact your specific circumstances. For additional information about step-parent adoption and assistance in starting the adoption process, contact the family law attorneys at Joseph Hollander & Craft in Wichita (316-262-9393), Topeka (785-234-3272), and Lawrence (785-856-0143).