To file for adoption of a child, termination of the biological parent’s rights is required. Therefore, the biological parent must either consent to termination of his / her rights or you must serve a petition to terminate the biological parent’s rights if no consent.
When you have consent from the biological parent, the legal process is generally straightforward. If you do not have consent and the other party responds, your case could end up in trial debating whether the biological parent’s rights should be legally terminated. RCW 13.34.180 details what the termination petition must allege. In either situation, it is usually best to have an attorney in an adoption action because of the complexities involved.
In either situation, the adoptive parent must go through the referral process known as the “Next Friend Report” for step-parent adoption in Pierce County. Through this process, the adoption investigator from Juvenile Court will come out to your home to interview you and the child. Then a report is submitted to the Court stating their findings and recommendations to the Court on whether to approve the Petition for Adoption.
If you are considering adoption, please contact our office for a consultation to obtain more details and to determine whether your family is ready and prepared for this step.