Adoption of a child in Indiana can arise under a variety of circumstances in a child’s life. One such circumstance is when a step-parent seeks to legally establish a permanent relationship with the child of his or her spouse. Another situation can be where there is no legal parent available to adequately care for a child, and adoption by another family member, such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle, may occur.

Whomever the adoptive parent may be, Indiana law provides that upon issuance of an adoption decree, the adoptive parent is the child’s legal parent with all of the rights and responsibilities associated with it. Furthermore, under Indiana law, an adopted child retains the same rights as a natural child of the adoptive parent for all purposes of intestate succession.

Sometimes, a child’s legal parent opposes adoption by a step-parent or other family member. This is referred to as a contested adoption. Under Indiana law, adoption requires the consent of the child’s legal parents, unless it can be demonstrated that the adoption should proceed without the consent. Consent to an adoption can come in various forms. As always, the adoption must be in the child’s best interest.

Indiana law requires specific procedures and requirements which must be followed in order for an adoption to be granted and upheld from challenges. Furthermore, whether to seek to adopt a child requires careful consideration of a multitude of factors, including: whether the child’s legal parent consents to the adoption, what may happen once the adoption petition is filed, and financial costs.

An attorney experienced in contested adoptions can explain Indiana law and help the prospective adoptive parent assess the facts and circumstances of an individual case. In this way, a prospective adoptive parent can better determine whether proceeding with adoption is appropriate for his or her family and best for the child involved.