If you marry a person who is a parent, you may reach a point where you wish to adopt your stepkids. Stepparent adoption can be a beautiful way to grow your Kentucky family, but there could be certain roadblocks standing between you and your ultimate objective. If you are looking to formalize and legally establish your relationship with your stepkids, you would be wise to seek a full understanding of your options.

One of the main hurdles to accomplishing your goal of adopting your stepchildren is gaining the consent of the other biological parent. These can be complex issues, and the other parent may not be present or willing to allow you to move forward with this goal. Whatever your family law goal may be, you have the right to seek a full understanding of your rights and the choices available to you.

What you need to know about this type of adoption

In many cases, it may not be as difficult to adopt the biological children of your spouse as it can be with other types of adoption. However, if this is your ultimate goal, it can be beneficial for you to understand the following about stepparent adoption:

  • Consent of the other biological parent is necessary to complete the stepparent adoption process.
  • Getting consent from the other parent can be difficult because, ultimately, that parent is relinquishing his or her parental rights.
  • If the other parent is not present, abandoned the child or had abuse or addiction problems, you may be able to have the court terminate the rights of the other biological parent.

If the other parent does not give his or her consent, you will have to prove that there are grounds to terminate the other parent’s rights. You will need to provide evidence of physical or financial abandonment, abuse, neglect or other severe issues that could compromise the best interests of the child.

Accomplishing the goals of your family

Family law issues can be complex and stressful, even in matters that are seemingly straightforward. Perhaps you, your spouse and your stepkids want to move forward with the adoption process, but it is still useful to seek legal help as you pursue a reasonable and beneficial outcome to your case.

Adoption is a positive step for many families, but it is prudent to move forward only after a full understanding of your rights and the legal options that you have.



There are some momentous decisions that require a strong commitment and resolve to follow through. One of these decisions is the desire to sign up for a stint in the armed forces in order to serve one’s country, and the other is the decision to enter into a marriage. Unfortunately, as many Kentucky residents are aware, many marriages will not survive in spite of one’s best efforts, and the process of obtaining a military divorce may require patience and skilled assistance.

A civilian marriage and subsequent divorce can be a trying time for the parties involved. However, add in all of the complications that accompany life in the service, and the process may feel overwhelming. Along with all of the usual details that are a part of a civilian divorce, such as determining a suitable custody plan, there is the division of marital assets and retirement accounts. A military divorce has these elements as well but comes with an added layer of complications, as deployments and frequent relocation can make custody arrangements challenging.

Additionally, there are the military benefits that may need to be addressed. State laws have a precedent in all divorce proceedings, and the military has its own guidelines that must be incorporated into the settlement agreements. A life of service to the nation’s military requires much sacrifice. It can be disheartening if one feels that he or she must make additional sacrifices during the divorce, if one does not have experienced assistance throughout the process.

When a marriage does not survive over the long term, it can be a tumultuous experience. If one fears losing his or her relationship with his or her children and some type of financial security for the future, then a military divorce may seem like a truly daunting ordeal. Kentucky residents who are facing this particular situation do not have to endure the experience alone. The assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can ease the process and help one find the best resolutions possible for his or her particular needs and circumstances.



There are many matters that may need to be considered when a couple is contemplating a divorce. While many are important, if the couple have children, then determining how to settle at least temporary child custody is of the utmost importance. Just like every other state, Kentucky has its own laws that will guide a court in making these determinations.

There are steps parents can take before the issue comes before a family court judge. One of these is taking time to consider the needs and feelings of the children who may be affected by the impending separation of households. In many cases, children do well to remain in their familiar environments, including their home if at all possible. Additionally, if the parents can come to at least a temporary agreement as to how to share parenting duties, this will also make the transitions easier for all parties. Refraining from using children as a conduit for communication can also ease tensions for the child and allows for more open dialogue between parents.

When attempting to share responsibilities, it may be beneficial to communicate openly and frequently concerning all matters relating to the children — including upcoming medical appointments and school functions. Allowing for flexibility in the other’s schedule can also relieve stress and anxiety when situations arise that may interfere with a parent’s scheduled custody time. It also will facilitate one’s custody chances if each side encourages a consistent relationship between each parent and child.

Every decision and action that divorcing parents make in regard to their conduct with their children may come under scrutiny by a family court judge. Ensuring that one acts responsibly and openly with the other parent will benefit all parties when it comes time to decide on a permanent child custody arrangement. Kentucky parents who are struggling to resolve this issue in the manner that protects their children’s best interest may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney in order to arrive at the best possible solutions.

Source:, “Child custody is often ‘no man’s land’“, 1st Lt. Andrew J. Harman, Nov. 20, 2017



Many years ago, it was considered taboo for a woman to have a child without being married to the baby’s father. However, it is now an accepted part of normal family life, though states have devised laws that dictate how a biological father can legally establish paternity of his child regardless of marital status. Kentucky is no exception, and it has created an avenue for men to seek legal recognition as a child’s father.

The state has set up its Paternity Acknowledgment Program, which provides an official document that allows an unwed father to claim his legal parental rights. The state touts the benefits to both parents and children when this document is entered into the official vital statistics department. Once signed, the biological father is acknowledged as the legal parent and is included on the child’s birth certificate.

Studies have detailed the important role fathers play in their children’s lives. Sons who have a father figure involved in their lives are shown to be better citizens and students who experience more positive outcomes throughout their lives. Girls who are raised with a father’s influence demonstrate better school performance in certain subject areas and also tend to experience more confidence and success in their lives.

Fathers who choose to establish paternity in this manner tend to develop closer bonds with their child while also allowing their offspring to qualify for certain benefits, including insurance and inheritance rights. Having a documented lineage can also permit children greater access to vital health history information as well as receiving greater financial and emotional support from both parents. Signing this form eliminates the need to seek DNA testing or petitioning a court for these rights at a later time. Kentucky families who are seeking to establish these rights or have other concerns relating to family law matters may seek information from an experienced attorney.

Source:, “Kentucky Paternity Acknowledgment Program“, Accessed on Dec. 17, 2017


Every engaged couple hopes for the best when they decide to say the vows that are meant to join them for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, life can take many twists, and the “I do” may become an “I cannot.” Regardless of what may have changed, many Kentucky families may have learned that a divorce is not always an end, but possibly a beginning.

Recently, one woman shared her experiences and what she learned when she sought a divorce from her husband of 17 years. She related how she and her spouse came from parents who had stayed married for many years, and therefore, she viewed a divorce as a failure. As time went on, though, she came to see her marriage as no longer a positive relationship but rather one that had to be endured.

Since her children were still quite young, she was questioned about the wisdom of her decision. However, she claimed that seeking a divorce from her spouse would show her children that it is better to leave a bad relationship than remain and be unhappy. She also felt it would deliver a message concerning how relationships should work instead of one where the parties do not relate in a positive way to one another.

This woman also believed that her sons would be more accepting of a divorce while they were younger rather than waiting until they had grown. She stated that she learned that her divorce was more about letting go of misery rather than giving up on something. There may be many Kentucky men and women who find themselves trying to survive in a bad marriage and are seeking a way toward a better future. A compassionate and knowledgeable family law attorney may be able to help them on their path toward a more positive tomorrow.

Source:, “Forget Divorce. Staying In A Bad Marriage Is The ‘True Tragedy’“, Brittany Wong, Dec. 6, 2017