A stepparent adoption can only proceed when a birth parent is deceased or the rights of one birth parent have been terminated by a court. A certified copy of the death certificate or termination order must be filed with the documents.

The process of a stepparent adoption usually involves four steps:

  1. An agency investigation
  2. Termination of parental rights
  3. Petition for the adoption
  4. Adoption hearing

Petitioner Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the petitioner to contact an adoption agency for a home study. The home study investigation must be completed and the agency report filed with the court prior to the adoption hearing. A listing of state licensed adoption agencies can be obtained at Wisconsin Adopt who is working in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. It is to be noted that if the step-parent adoption is in conjunction with the termination of parental rights, the investigation should be completed before filing the petition for the termination of parental rights or the petition for adoption.

A child over 14 years of age must attend the hearing. If the child being adopted was born in a state other than Wisconsin, the completed report of adoption and order for adoption will be provided to you following the hearing so that you may obtain an amended birth certificate through the registrar of that state. All documents must be filed to commence the adoption proceedings. Juvenile forms may be accessed on the Wisconsin Court System or Wisconsin Department of Health Services. A packet of forms is also available from the Clerk of Courts Office for $5.

Stepparent Adoption Forms

Form NumberForm Name
JC-1645Petition for Adoption - Child / Adult
To initiate a proceeding in the court for approval of an adoption of a child or adult.
JC-1643Order for Hearing and Screening (Stepparent Adoption)
Court order directing a single-interview screening for stepparent adoption.
GF-150Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act Affidavit
Oath by petitioner to meet the jurisdictional requirements of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act.
DHFS Form HCF5022Report of Adoption (not available on website)
Statistical form to amend birth certificate. A check for $40 payable to the Bureau of Vital Statistics for the birth certificate must be paid on the day of the hearing. If more than one copy is desired, please include $3 for each additional copy.
JC-1646Consent to Adoption
Affidavit by the parent whose rights were not terminated consenting to the adoption of their biological child. Affidavit of a minor over 12 years of age consenting to their adoption by their stepparent.
Ozaukee County FormReceipt for Medical / Genetic Information
Affidavit signed by the adopting parent acknowledging receipt of all medical / genetic information.
JC-1647Order for Adoption
Order formally indicating the court’s decision to grant the adoption petition.

Supporting Documents

  • Certified copy of order concerning termination of parental rights
  • Copy of original birth certificate
  • Investigative home study report
  • Recommendation of agency / guardian

This guideline is provided as a public service and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions about the form or the procedure, please contact an attorney as the Clerk of Courts cannot give legal advice.