Families today look very different than they did 100 years ago. While many parents are able to divorce and continue to raise their children together, this is not always the case. Sometimes one parent is no longer in the picture, or doesn’t wish to retain their legal parental rights.
This often occurs when a biological parent:
- Is deceased
- Suffers from a severe mental illness
- Is chemically dependent and unable to care for themselves
- Was a sperm or egg donor
- Is in prison
When one parent is no longer interested in – or able – to parent, adoption is an option. The courts consider adoption petitions under these types of circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Any time a biological or adoptive parent gives up or loses their parental rights to a child, a stepparent can adopt the child. This includes voluntary termination proceedings, as well as parental termination proceedings that are court-ordered.