Parents have legal obligations toward their children, to support them financially, to educate them, to provide for their care and comfort. Children have one legal father and one legal mother owing such obligations to them. When a biological parent, who is presumed to be a child’s legal parent, is unable or unwilling to fulfill these legal obligations, and there is a step-parent who would like to become a child’s legal parent, the step-parent can initiate a step parent adoption. She or he then has the burden of proving that termination of the biological parent’s legal status as a parent is in the child’s best interests,and that it is likewise in the child’s best interests that the step-parent have full legal rights as a parent conferred upon him or herself.
These are frequently difficult proceedings, especially for the person facing termination of their legal rights as a parent. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, and a person who has not been able to fulfill obligations of support and care should nevertheless not have their parental rights terminated. In those cases it is especially important that whether representing the step-parent or the person facing termination of their legal rights, that the family law attorney chosen be experienced and willing to explore creative solutions to maximize the good energy a child may be able to receive from every adult in a complicated family.