Q: How do I adopt my former step-son (Kevin), who is now an adult?
We both consent to the adoption, but there are two issues that could create challenges:
1. Kevin's mother and I are divorced.
2. Kevin and I live in separate states. He lives in Utah, I live in Florida.
1. Do I need consent from birth parents?
2. In which state do I file the adoption request, and are there additional requirements for each state?
A: You could file in either state. Since he is an adult, you wouldn't need consent from the parents unless the parents still have guardianship of him. Adult adoptions are tricky and the judge will most likely want a decent explanation as to the reasoning.
Actually, the problem you have here in Utah, at the present moment (the buzz on the streets right now is that this might be changed next year) is that where you and his mother are divorced, when you adopt Kevin it will terminate his mother legal relationship with him. Here is the statute (see #1 and 3).
78B-6-138. Pre-existing parent's rights and duties dissolved.
(1) A pre-existing parent of an adopted child is released from all parental duties toward and all responsibilities for the adopted child, including residual rights, and has no further rights with regard to that child at the earlier of:
(a) the time the pre-existing parent's parental rights are terminated; or
(b) except as provided in Subsection (2), and subject to Subsection (3), the time the final decree of adoption is entered.
(2) The rights and duties of a pre-existing parent described in Subsection (1) who, at the time the child is adopted, is lawfully married to the person adopting the child are not released or terminated under Subsection (1)(b).
(3) The rights and duties of a pre-existing parent described in Subsection (1) who, at the time the child is adopted, is not lawfully married to the person adopting the child are terminated as provided in Subsection (1)(b).
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