Judges and lawyers love adoptions. The courthouse is usually an unhappy place. Adoptions are a welcome change of pace, and involve the better side of the human condition. An adoption hearing is a time to celebrate and your judge will share that spirit. Bring your camera to the final hearing: Be ready to smile, and to shed happy tears.
In Minnesota, step-parent adoptions are usually straight forward, but involve a few more steps than in other states. The process involves gathering necessary documents, serving papers on biological parents, and a brief hearing before a judge.
Step-parent adoptions are relatively inexpensive. That’s because they are usually unopposed. When a biological parent can’t be found, opposes the adoption, or presents other difficulties, legal fees will increase, sometimes considerably.
In Minnesota, adoptions by step-parents and biological relatives don’t involve adoption agencies and home studies. This helps reduce cost and make the process unfold faster.
Some states require two legal actions to complete an adoption. In one action, the biological parents’ rights are terminated. The adoption is a second, separate, action. In Minnesota, in step-parent adoptions, termination of biological parents’ rights and granting the adoption are all handled within the adoption action.
In addition to step-parent and relative adoptions, Minnesota also offers direct placement or identified adoptions. These involve placing a child with a prospective non-relative family and require the involvement of an adoption agency. As these process are more complicated, we’re happy to answer any question you may have.