Step Parent Adoption
A step-parent adoption is the easiest type of adoption in Minnesota in terms of the legal process. In this type of adoption, the court can waive the requirement that the adoptive family have an adoption study done, but background checks will still be required.
Most courts will do this as long as the step-parent has been married to the legal parent for more than three months. If an adoption study is required, it is usually done by the adoptive parent’s county social services.
If the birth father of the child is listed on the birth certificate, was married to the birth mother, was adjudicated the father by a court, or has paid child support, his rights must be dealt with before the step-father can adopt the child.
This can be done either voluntarily by the birth father signing a Consent to Adoption or involuntarily by a court finding that he has “abandoned” the child. Usually abandonment means he has had no contact with the child and/or not paid any support for the child for at least six months.
An adult can be adopted by another adult under Minnesota law. There is no requirement that the parents of the person being adopted agree to the adoption since the adoptee is an adult. Only the person being adopted must Consent to the Adoption.
Generally no adoption study is required since the adopting person will not be raising a child. The motivation for adoption may be to legally recognize an already existing parent/child relationship, to insure inheritance, or to derive some other benefit.
If the adopting parent is related to the adopted person within three degrees of relationship, Minnesota law designates this a relative adoption. An aunt adopting a niece is a relative adoption, but an aunt adopting a great-niece is not a relative adoption.
Courts may waive an adoption study in a relative adoption although it is up to the individual judge to decide. Many relative adoptions occur when a child is in foster care or being cared for by a grandparent or other close family member who wants to formalize the legal relationship.