Step-Parent Adoptions

Step-Parent Adoptions

Adoption is the legal process by which a parent-child and family relationship is established on behalf of a child with individuals who were not members of the child's original birth family. Adoptive parents have all the rights  and responsibilities of birth parents. The decision to adopt a child requires serious consideration because it not only establishes a parent-child relationship, it also creates a legal obligation to provide for the financial care and support of the child. Minnesota adoption laws are focused on the best interests of minor children. Certain laws give special protection for children based on their age, and status as a Native American, under the Indian Child Welfare Act. 


Minnesota law requires that all adoptions be formalized in a court proceeding in order to ensure that the child's best interests are protected. An adoption involves more than filing papers with the court. The specific requirements and steps to be followed, including types of notice that are required vary considerably, depending on the type of adoption being pursused. Generally, the requirements for a step-parent adoption include:


  • The adoptive parents must have resided in Minnesota for a period of one year;
  • Venue is appropriate in juvenile court of the judicial district in which the Petitioners and minor child reside;
  • A waiver and consent to the step-parent adoption is required from the other birth parent, unless the birth father was never formally adjudicated, and a Recognition of Parentage was never formally signed; and  
  • A home study (unless waived by court order), and a background check must be completed on the Petitioners.


Following the entry of the decree of adoption, any name change and the creation of a new birth certificate must be processed by the State. If you are interested in a step-parent adoption, please contact our office for additional information.

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