The adoption process can be a little easier but nonetheless daunting for stepparents. The advice of an attorney may help you contend with legal issues and complications that may arise.
In some situations, state laws do not require the noncustodial parent's consent. A lawyer can advise you on whether consent may be waived in your case. Where consent is necessary, the attorney can help you obtain proper consent. There are states that allow for consent to be revoked, and for an adoption to be challenged or overturned, in the event of legal requirements not being met or where fraud has occurred.
Also, there are states that allow a stepparent to adopt even if the noncustodial parent does not agree to the adoption or contests the adoption. A lawyer can explain your legal rights in such a case and plan a legal strategy for you to address the challenge.
The adoption process in your state may require that you appear at one or more court hearings before the adoption is finalized. Your attorney can prepare you for the court procedures and appear with you as your legal representative.
Once the adoption is final, your lawyer can file the application for a new birth certificate for your child. The certificate will reflect the child's new name, if it has changed, and list the stepparent as the child’s parent.