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OHIO – Stepparent Adoption


A stepparent adoption is used to legalize the parent-child relationship between a stepparent and his/her spouse’s child. In a stepparent adoption, the stepparent assumes financial and legal responsibility for his/her spouse’s child, and the non-custodial parent is released from all parenting responsibilities, including child support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who must give consent for a stepparent adoption?

A: Consent of the biological parents is required unless the “parent has failed without justifiable cause to communicate with the minor or to provide for the maintenance and support of the minor as required by law or judicial decree for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the filing of the adoption petition.” This is a difficult standard to meet as Ohio courts have found merely sending birthday cards or letters is enough to require consent. The statute is generally construed in favor of the biological parent. Consent is not required if the parent’s rights have already been terminated.
Ohio Revised Code § 3107.07

Q: Do I need to have a homestudy?

A: Yes. Ohio requires a homestudy for all adoptions, including stepparent adoptions. Ohio Revised Code § 3107.031

Q: Do I need an attorney?

A: Some counties in Ohio permit stepparents to file adoption petitions pro se (without counsel); others require stepparents to be represented by an attorney. You should on such requirements with the court where the adoption will be finalized.

Q: Are there any other special rules?

A: The final adoption decree cannot be issued until six months after the petition for adoption has been filed, or until the child has lived in the stepparent’s home for at least six months. Ohio Revised Code § 3107.13

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