Maine Laws on Stepparent Adoption
By Sangeet Duchane
Child image by Serenitie from Fotolia.com
According to the website Childwelfare.gov, adoptions by stepparents are the most common form of adoption. A stepparent is the spouse of one of the child's natural or adoptive parents. In Maine, a stepparent adoption is possible only when permission for the adoption is given by everyone who is involved in the child's welfare. If all the necessary permission is given, the court will allow the adoption if it is in the best interests of the child.
Under Maine law, if the child up for adoption is at least 14 years old, then the child must consent to the adoption. For children under 14 years of age, it is up to the court to decide if the adoption would be in the best interests of the child.
In Maine, any living parent must consent in writing to the adoption by a stepparent, because the adoption will cut off the noncustodial parent's parental rights, including visitation rights. Consent is not needed if the rights of a biological parent have already been terminated voluntarily, or as the result of a prior legal proceeding. Consent is also not needed if the father is the legal, but not biological, father, and he has failed to respond to notice regarding the adoption.
Under Maine law, if someone other than a biological parent is the guardian or has legal custody of the child, she must consent to the adoption for it to take place. If she refuses to consent, the person seeking the adoption can ask the judge to overrule the decision to withhold consent, and must prove that the guardian's decision was unreasonable.
Sangeet Duchane practiced law for several years before becoming a writer. She has since published five nonfiction books and articles in various magazines and online for eHow and Advice.com, among others. She specializes in articles on law, business, self-help and spirituality.