Intrafamily AdoptionIntrafamily adoptions allow a child to be adopted by a legal relative. Very commonly, a step-parent will adopt the biological children of his spouse or a grandparent will adopt her grandchild child if the child has been living in her home for at least six months. Other legal relatives may also be eligible to adopt a child as well.
Intrafamily adoptions involve a streamlined process that dispenses with the strict requirements imposed on other adoptions. In step-parent adoptions, the spouse merely must consent to the adoption and need not join in the petition itself. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and the home investigation both do not apply to intrafamily adoptions. The expedited process assumes that the adoption serves the child's best interests since the child is living with relatives.
Intrafamily adoptions require the consent of both biological parents. Consent must be obtained from a biological father who has formally established paternity with a notarized document and from an alleged father who has informally established paternity (such as verbally acknowledging paternity, providing child support or living in a de facto family with the child). If the biological parents are divorced with joint custody, consent must be obtained from both parents. If one parent has sole custody, consent must still be obtained from the non-custodial parent.
Consent is generally not required where a parent has failed to pay court-ordered child support without cause for twelve months or has failed to visit, communicate or attempt to communicate with the child without just cause for twelve months. Despite the relative simplicity of intrafamily adoptions, it is nonetheless important to consult an experienced adoption attorney who can assist with the particulars of a case.
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