You love your stepchild just as much as if they were your own, but unless you go through the process of adopting the child as a stepparent, your relationship with your stepchild is entirely in the hands of the child’s biological parents. If you were to divorce without having adopted your stepchild, you may lose all contact with the child you love.
What is required for a stepparent adoption?
There are several elements that must be satisfied in order to adopt your stepchild in New York.
First, the child’s other biological parent must agree to give up their rights to the child unless it can be shown that they abandoned the child, failed to financially support the child for a significant time period or is otherwise an unfit parent.
In addition, your spouse must also agree to the adoption. If the child is above age 14, they also must agree to the adoption.
You must have your fingerprints taken and be cleared by the child abuse registry. Finally, a home study will be performed.
What does it mean to be an adoptive parent?
As an adoptive parent you have legal rights and responsibilities towards the child. These include child custody rights and child support responsibilities in the event of a divorce. The child’s other biological parent loses all parental rights and is no longer responsible for the care and support of the child.
As an adoptive parent, your stepchild can receive an inheritance should you die intestate, and they are entitled to Social Security survivor benefits should you pass away. And of course, nothing can match the close emotional bond you share with your stepchild that can help the child grow and thrive.