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Step-Parent Adoption Lawyer in Madison, MS
Our Family Lawyers Handle Step-Parent Adoptions Throughout Madison County
At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, our Madison, MS step-parent adoption lawyers provide personalized, solutions-based legal representation to parents and families. We have experience handling both uncontested and contested step-parent adoptions. If you have questions or concerns about the process, we are more than happy to help you understand the next steps. Call us now to schedule your fully private appointment with an experienced Mississippi step-parent adoption attorney.
Know the Law: Three Parents Cannot Have Custody/Visitation Rights in Mississippi
In a minority of U.S. states, step-parent may be eligible to acquire court-protected child visitation rights even if a child’s two biological parents both still have their legal rights. For example, in Louisiana, step-parent may be able to access visitation rights even as a “third” parent. However, this is not true in Mississippi. Under Mississippi state laws, no more than two individuals can have parental rights/parental responsibilities for a child. In effect, this means that a step-parent cannot get access to parental rights unless:
- The child’s other parent is deceased;
- The child’s other parent had their rights terminated; or
- The child’s other parent is willing to relinquish their rights.
An Overview of Step-Parent Adoptions in Mississippi
Adoption is the legal process through which a person assumes parental rights/parental responsibility for a child. A significant share of adoptions in Mississippi are step-parent adoptions. Most often, this occurs when a step-parent is married to or in a domestic relationship with one of the child’s legal parents. There are two broad categories of step-parent adoptions in Mississippi:
- Uncontested Step-Parent Adoption: An uncontested step-parent adoption is one in which there is no active dispute from the child’s other parent. An uncontested adoption can occur in a few different scenarios. Your spouse’s former partner may be deceased. Alternatively, they may have already lost their parental rights—meaning they have no authority to dispute the adoption. Finally, the other parent may also be willing to give their consent to the adoption. If they do so, it will make the process significantly easier. That being said, they will lose their parental rights if they consent to step-parent adoption. Essentially, they have to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights in order to consent to step-parent adoption.
- Contested Step-Parent Adoption: A contested step-parent is one in which the child’s other parent (your spouse’s former partner) still has parental rights and refuses to give their consent for the adoption to move forward. Typically, this occurs in two different scenarios. In the first, the other actively and aggressively tries to thwart the adoption process—potentially even filing motions in court. In the second scenario, the other parent simply refuses to cooperate at all. They may be difficult to locate or unwilling to engage.
As you probably already recognize, contested step-parent adoptions are more challenging. Under Mississippi law, you have to make a good faith effort to engage the other parent in the step-parent adoption process, including making a proactive attempt to provide them with official legal notice of any proceedings. A court can still approve a step-parent adoption over the objections of one of the child’s legal parents—but typically this requires demonstrating that the parent in question is unfit and should lose their rights.
How Our Mississippi Step-Parent Adoption Lawyers Can Help
Step-parent adoptions can be complicated and stressful—even an uncontested step-parent adoption is not an easy process in Mississippi. At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we are here to walk with you every step of the way. Our mission is to make sure that you are able to get the best possible outcome for your family. Among other things, our Madison, MS step-parent adoption attorneys will:
- Conduct a comprehensive, confidential review and evaluation of your case;
- Answer any questions you may have about the Mississippi adoption laws;
- Handle all of the legal paperwork involved in the adoption process; and
- Take action to protect your rights and help you overcome any obstacles.
Call Our Madison, MS Step-Parent Adoption Lawyers for Guidance and Support
At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, our Madison family attorneys have the specialized skills and professional expertise needed to handle the complete spectrum of step-parent adoption cases. If you have questions about a specific situation, we will get answers you can rely on. Give us a call or connect with us online for a strictly private initial consultation. We provide family law representation in Madison, Madison County, and all around the wider region.
To set up a consultation, call us at (601) 853-2223 or contact us online.
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