Adopting a family member can be difficult, but also rewarding. The steps to adopt your nephew vary, based on your location and individual circumstances. Adoption laws are different from state to state, but the rights of the biological parents must be terminated first, either voluntarily or involuntarily, by the courts. In most states, adoptions involving relatives are often completed more quickly than adoptions to strangers in most states. You may need to consult with a family law or adoption attorney before proceeding with the adoption.
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Terminate the parental rights, if this hasn't been done already. This may involve a court hearing, especially if the rights are being terminated involuntary. For a court to terminate the biological parents' rights, there must be substantial evidence of neglect or harm to your nephew.
Go to the courthouse in the county where your nephew resides. The clerk of the court will be able to provide you with the necessary paperwork to start the adoption process.
Complete paperwork and return it to the clerk of the court. You will be assigned a hearing date.
Attend the hearing. The judge will ask you questions about your home and your ability to care for your nephew. He will also inform you of any requirements you must meet before you can adopt your nephew.
Fulfil any pre-adoption requirements that the court requests. In some states, you may need to have a home study done before the adoption can be finalised. You may also have to be fingerprinted and have a background check, depending on laws in your state.
Attend the final hearing and bring evidence that you have completed the pre-adoption requirements. The court will make its decision regarding placement of your nephew. If the adoption is approved, you will receive an amended birth certificate for your nephew with your name as a parent.
Tips and warnings
- Laws vary from state to state. You should consult with an adoption attorney in your state.
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