Probate Adoption, Name Changes, and Guardianships

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Co-Parent and Step-Parent Adoption

If you are the biological parent of a minor child residing in Connecticut and you wish for your spouse or significant other to adopt that child, a petition must be filed with the Probate Court in the town in which you reside.

**Same-sex couples should refer to our Co-Parent & Step-Parent Adoption for Lesbian Couples in Connecticut page for appropriate information.

If the Other Biological Parent of Your Child is Still Living

If the other biological parent of your child is still living — and his or her parental rights have not already been terminated by a Court — you will have to petition for a Termination of Parental Rights order. If the other living biological parent does not consent to the termination of his or her rights, it’s not as simple as merely requesting that a court terminate that parent’s rights. Your lawyer will discuss the specifics of your situation with you and will be able to advise you as to the best way to proceed.

If the Other Biological Parent of Your Child is Deceased

If the other biological parent of your child is deceased — and no other person has adopted your child in his or her place — there will not be a need to terminate parental rights and your child will be considered available for adoption by your spouse or significant other.

If Your Child Was Conceived by Alternative Insemination

If your child was conceived by alternative insemination and the sperm donor is anonymous, there are no parental rights to terminate. However, you must be able to prove to the court that this is true.

If the sperm donor was known to you, his parental rights must be terminated by a Probate Judge before an adoption may be scheduled. It is not enough for that donor to sign a document stating that he is donating sperm to you with the intent of not having any parental rights. Speak to a licensed adoption lawyer before using a known sperm donor.

Co-Parent versus Step-Parent Adoption

In Connecticut, if you are not married to your significant other and wish to have that person adopt your child (biological or a child previously adopted by you as a sole parent), that person would be considered a co-parent to your child after the decree of adoption. Under Connecticut statutes, a judge will order a home study to determine if the adoption by your significant other is in the best interests of the child.

Under Connecticut law, if the person you wish to have adopt your child is your legal spouse,that person would be considered a step-parent to your child after the decree of adoption. For step-parent adoptions, Connecticut statutes allow a judge the discretion to order — or to waive — a home study prior to granting a decree of adoption.

Name Changes (Adult or Child)

There are a variety of reasons that a person may wish to legally change his or her name. In Connecticut, a petition for name change is under the jurisdicition of our Probate Courts.

For an adult name change, you, the petitioner, must be able to sign a sworn affidavit stating that “[t]he purpose of the change of name is not to deceive, defraud, or mislead any person or governmental agency, nor to avoid the legal consequences of a criminal conviction.” Notice of the application for change of name will be sent to the Department of Public Safety to determine if the applicant is on the Sex Offender Registry.

If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor change whose name you are seeking to change, you will also have to sign an affidavit stating that the child’s name change is not being sought for the aforementioned purposes. For both adult and child name changes, you will be required to submit an original certified long-form birth certificate which will not be returned to you.

A licensed Probate Name Change lawyer at the Law Offices of Gryk & Frolich, LLC is available to discuss the Probate name change process with you.

Guardianships in Probate Court

There are times when it is appropriate to seek legal guardianship of a minor child (a person under the age of 18 or a person with intellectual disabilities) in the Probate Court.

In Connecticut, a guardian is the person named by the court who has the legal right and duty to take care of a minor and/or a minor’s property. According to the office of the Probate Administrator, “[t]his right and duty includes the obligation of care and control of that minor and/or his property and the authority to make major decisions affecting the minor’s welfare.” The court may also appoint two or more persons to serve as co-guardians.

The court may choose to appoint a temporary guardian (an appointed person who serves with, but does not replace, the parent as natural guardian, so that either the parent or the temporary guardian may make important decisions affecting the child). A temporary guardianship, unless revoked, does not last more than one year unless the court grants reappointment.

A court may also appoint a standby guardian. “The standby guardianship will take effect upon the occurrence of a specified contingency, including, but not limited to, the mental incapacity, physical debilitation, or death of the parent or guardian.” A standby guardianship may be revoked at any time, in writing.

According to the Office of the Probate Administrator, “[w]henever the court appoints a guardian or co-guardian, it must take into consideration the following factors:

(1) the ability of the prospective co-guardian(s) to meet the physical, emotional,
moral, and educational needs of the minor on a continuing day-to-day basis;
(2) the minor’s wishes if he or she is over the age of 12 OR is of sufficient maturity
and capable of forming an intelligent preference;
(3) the existence or nonexistence of an established relationship between the minor
and the prospective co-guardian(s); and
(4) the best interests of the child.”

A licensed Probate Guardianship lawyer at the Law Offices of Gryk & Frolich, LLC is available to discuss the Probate guardianship process with you.