The stepparent must be married to the birth parent for 6 months before the adoption can be finalized. Your wedding date is the start of the adoptive placement.
Because of Ohio Law and the complexity of the process you must have an attorney or agency representation. It is important to note that the Court cannot give any legal advice so you should consult with an attorney. An attorney is mandatory unless consent Form 18.3 and Form AD.7 have been obtained from the non-custodial parent. When Filing for a Stepparent Adoption:
- All forms must be typed.
- All necessary paperwork must be provided at the time of filing
- Use full birth-names and no initials.
- If there is no middle name or initial, use (NMI) in the spaces provided.
- Make sure all signatures are included on all forms.
- Hearing dates and case numbers will be completed by the clerk.
The following guidelines may not be a completely comprehensive list but should help you in the process with your attorney.
What I need to do for a Stepparent Adoption:
- If the biological parent is deceased, you must provide the Court with a certified copy of the death certificate.
- If the father is not on the birth certificate and paternity has been established, you must provide the Court with a copy of the DNA results or paternity affidavit.
- If the child was born on or after January 1, 1997, and paternity has never been established, you must provide the final results of the Putative Father Registry JFS 1695.
- If you cannot obtain consent and you want to prove consent is not required, you must provide a current or last known address for the non-custodial parent listed on the Petition.
- If the address for the non-custodial parent is unknown, you must file an Affidavit (Attorney provided) and Form AD.2.3 – Order for Publication.
- If the child to be adopted is in counseling/therapy, a letter must be filed from the treating professional regarding the adoption.
- If the child is keeping their birth name (if different from petitioner) or taking their mother’s maiden name, a letter must be submitted by the petitioner regarding this decision.
- A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate (long form/microfilm copy), obtained from the local health department, and must accompany the petition. This version of the birth certificate contains the doctor and hospital information.
- A certified copy of the petitioner’s Marriage License Abstract (from the Court that issued the license) and a certified copy of any divorce decree’s (if applicable)
- A certified copy of the original Birth Certificate for the petitioner and custodial parent.
- Provide four Letters of Reference (all letters to include how long they have known the petitioner, a specific reference to the petitioner’s family unit, and an original signature).
- One letter from a clergy member or employer
- If self-employed, a letter from a co-worker
- Three letters from non-relatives (in-laws are considered relatives)
- Any petitioner, who is currently paying child support or owes child support, must provide a statement or printout from the applicable CSEA indicating any monies due and payable.
- All persons residing in the home over the age of 18 (not the biological parent) must submit a completed BCI check, Form JFS 1653 – Medical Statement.
Fill out and file these forms:
- Form 18.0  – Petition for Adoption of Minor.
- Form 18.1  – Judgment Entry Setting Hearing and Ordering Notice.
- Form 18.3  – Consent to Adoption (from custodial and non-custodial parent).
- Form 18.7  – Final Decree of Adoption.
- Form AD.2.1  – Order for Home Study Assessment.
- Form AD.2.2  – Instructions for Criminal Background Checks and Results.
- Form AD.2.2.a  – Physician’s Report on Child to be Adopted (within 6 months of filing).
- Form AD.2.3  – Affidavit and Order for Publication (if applicable).
- Form AD.7  – Addendum to Consent (non-custodial parent).
- Form HEA 2757  – Certificate of Adoption – State of Ohio Dept. of Health.
- Form JFS 1653  – Medical Statement for Adoptive Applicant and All Household Members over the age of 18 (within 1 year of filing).
- Form JFS 1681  – Applicant Financial Statement.
- Form JFS 1691  – ODHS Application for Child Placement (Fill out completely; include all family members).
- Form JFS 1695  – Putative Father Registry
- The filing fee is $586.00 for the first child and $161.00 for each additional child.
- If you use a credit card, a 3% charge will be added.
- Make checks payable to the “Summit County Probate Court.”
- If after the paperwork is filed and the decision is made to the change the adoptee’s name, an amended Form 18.0 must be filed with Court. The filing fee for this amended form is $30.00.
Fee Notice: If you choose to have an adoption agency or an approved qualified assessor complete your home study, contact the Court as the cost and instructions vary with each case.