Adoption creates a parent/child relationship. It also often requires dissolving an existing parent/child relationship if one is stepping into the position of another parent. With this new parent/child relationship comes the traditional parental rights that a biological parent would have, as well as the obligations of support.
Adoptions may be heard in juvenile court or district court depending on the circumstances. If the adoption is occurring because another parent’s parental rights are being terminated, the adoption would be heard in juvenile court with the same judge that is handling the termination.
Step-parent adoptions may require the termination of one parent’s parental rights, but if there is no pending action in juvenile court the case may be heard in district court. There are many requirements that one must meet in order to terminate parental rights, unless that parent is willing to relinquish their rights.
Step-parent adoptions may not require a termination if no father has been previously identified. This does require that the Petitioner demonstrate to the Court through a paternity search and affidavit that there is no identified father.
Grandparent or other family members wishing to adopt will need to terminate the parental rights of both parents unless a relinquishment is obtained.
Regardless of the situation, the Court takes adoptions very seriously and will often require a home study or the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem to ensure that the adoption is in the best interest of the minor(s). The Court will always require at least one hearing to finalize the adoption.
For more information you can go to the Court's website.