You likely have been told you need the biological father’s consent if you want to adopt your stepchild. If now, he is deceased, it may seem you may be prevented from moving forward with an adoption. However, there are a few exceptions. Continue reading to understand the nuance of step parent adoption when the biological father is deceased.

It may seem obvious that you don’t need consent from a deceased person. However, recently I had a parent who was convinced that they did. They believed they could never move forward with adoption because the other parent was deceased. And as you might have guessed, they don’t need the consent of that deceased parent. So there’s nothing stopping them from moving forward-unless they meet one of these exceptions.

Appointed Guardian

If the child is under the care of a guardian appointed by the court and your wife’s parental rights have been terminated, you would need the consent of that guardian to move forward with the adoption. In fact, under those set of facts, it would no longer be considered a stepparent adoption. This would be a full on adoption because your wife’s rights had previously been terminated. She would then also be adopting her child, even though it is her own biological child.

Consent of Child

If the child you’re wanting to adopt is at least 12 years of age, the law requires that they give their consent as well. So you may want to adopt your stepchild, but if they don’t want you to, they can prevent it. The judge can overrule this in Oklahoma. If the judge thinks the adoption is in the child’s best interest, despite the child’s objection, it can be approved by the court. However, that is pretty rare. If the child doesn’t want the adoption to go through, most judges will not grant it.

Judge’s Discretion

This applies to all guardianships in Oklahoma. The judge’s discretion can grant or prevent an adoption from moving forward. If for some reason that judge decides it is not in the child’s best interest, they don’t have to approve the adoption. The law gives them the power to do that. It might be something as simple as they just find that the stepparent wanting to adopt has something sketchy about them, or they may find that this is mom’s fourth marriage. The judge may see she seems to remarry every other year and get a divorce. They may not want to approve an adoption if that’s the case. There could be a myriad of other reasons, all within the judge’s discretion.

If you are pursuing step parent adoption when the biological father is deceased,  you do not need the deceased dad’s consent to move forward. However, you might need someone else’s consent.

If you still have questions or if this case doesn’t apply to you and you just want to know in general if you qualify for a stepparent adoption, Step Parent Adoptions is here to help. You can take a short, free quiz to see if you’re eligible in Oklahoma, or contact us directly for more clarification.