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Step-parent adoption and termination of parental rights

Adoption can provide a number of benefits. While there is the positive emotional impact it can have on both an adopted child and his or her adoptive parent, there may also be other very real consequences. Once an adoption is completed, an adopted child may be able to inherit property from an adoptive parent and certain legal rights with regard to medical care may come into existence. For these reasons, adoption can take many forms. While many Louisianans may think that most adoptions involve babies or children in the foster care system, the truth of the matter is that other forms, such as step-parent adoption, are quite common.

However, just like other forms of adoption, step-parent adoption can give rise to complex legal issues. For example, a step-parent can only adopt his or her step-child once the child's biological parent's parental rights have been terminated, unless consent can be obtained. This is often a difficult task, as parental rights are usually only terminated when it can be demonstrated that the parent has abandoned, neglected, or abused the child, or he or she is otherwise unfit to parent the child. Parental rights can also be severed if it can be shown that the individual in question is not, in fact, the child's biological parent.

So what does this mean for Louisianans who want to adopt their step-children? It means that they may have to take the matter to court. If termination of parental rights is pursued, then the case may have to go to trial. Under these circumstances, it is important for step-parents to know their legal rights and how best to support the case for termination of parental rights.

To do so, these individuals can obtain assistance from a qualified legal professional. He or she may be able to help a step-parent better understand the process and what can be done to ensure adoption has the best possible chance of success given the circumstances.

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