Over the course of time, a stepparent can fulfill the role of a biological parent. In fact, as you may well know, in some instances the child even identifies the stepparent as their true mother or father. If your family is in that situation now, then you may be thinking about whether it’s time for stepparent adoption. It very well may be, but you need to know what is required to successfully adopt a stepchild before moving forward with the process.
The consent requirement
Perhaps the biggest challenge in a stepparent adoption is securing the consent of the child’s other biological parent, meaning the biological parent who is not married to the stepparent. After all, consenting to that adoption cuts off that biological parent’s parental rights, meaning that he or she will no longer have the ability to seek visitation and custody, and he or she is no longer financially responsible for the child.
But even if the other biological parent doesn’t consent, you may still be able to proceed with adoption. In most of these instances, you’ll have to prove that the other biological parent poses a danger to the child or has abandoned the child in some fashion.
Once you dispose of the other biological parent’s consent, you’ll have to meet some other requirements before adoption will be granted. This includes:
- Obtaining consent from the child if he or she is 14 or older
- Successfully undergoing proper background checks
- Having a favorable home study conducted that demonstrates that adoption is in the child’s best interests.
Competently navigate your adoption case
A stepparent adoption can give a child a greater sense of permanency and stability, and it can give you and the child rights that you otherwise wouldn’t enjoy, such as inheritance rights. But it can be a more complicated process than some people realize. That’s why it may be in your best interests to work closely with an adoption attorney as you navigate your case.