Practice Areas


Wendell L. Belknap
411 5th Street
Oregon City, OR 97045

Tel: 503-657-8946
Fax: 503-655-2775

Email Wendell



Some of the nicest, most closely-knit families I meet in my practice consist of married couples raising children who are the biological children of one spouse who has legal custody of the children, but who are the step-children of the other spouse. And, sometimes, for whatever reason, the “other,” non-custodial biological parent is no longer in the picture, or is willing to step out of the picture, thereby allowing the step-parent to adopt the children. This is what is known as a step-parent adoption, and it can be a wonderful and emotionally fulfilling procedure allowing the husband and wife to make the children both of theirs legally, the same as if born to them as part of their marriage.

To do this, however, generally the “other” biological parent must consent to the adoption (there are some limited circumstances when the consent of the “other” biological parent is unnecessary, such as in the case of abandonment or neglect, as defined by the laws of the State of Oregon). Upon completion of the step-parent adoption, the “other” biological parent’s rights and responsibilities, including the duty of child support, are terminated. Most families with whom I discuss the option of step-parent adoption consider this to be an acceptable result. Because the state does not require an independent home study in step-parent adoptions, the adoption can be completed in as little as three or four months, assuming consent of the “other” parent is obtained. Please contact me if you would like to discuss whether a step-parent adoption is an option for you.