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Filing a petition for a stepparent adoption

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Adoption

When children from a prior relationship are brought into a new marriage, there might be discussion about stepparent adoption. While this is a beautiful way to solidify a family unit for the child, this is often a difficult adoption process that differs from an adoption from an agency or private party.

Stepparent adoption

There are various reasons to seek to adopt a stepchild; however, the stepparent adoption process is a voluntary process to formalize a legal relationship between stepchild and stepparent. Much like other adoptions, a stepparent adoption is a legal process. Additionally, there are steps the stepparent and the biological parents must take to move the process forward.

The process and requirements

To initiate the process, the stepparent and their spouse, the biological parent, will need to file a petition for adoption. Some of the legal issues faced are similar to prospective adoptive parents. This includes adoption hearings, formal name changes, obtaining consent from a birth parent and the like. And, when the adoption is finalized, the family can apply for a new birth certificate for the child.


Consent can often be a hurdle in a stepparent adoption. To successfully adopt a stepchild, both legal parents must consent. While your spouse has provided consent, as they filed the petition with you; however, the other parent may not agree with this.

If the other birth parent agrees and voluntarily gives up their parental rights, this means they no longer have rights and responsibilities to their biological child. This also means that they no longer have child support obligations.

If consent is not given, it might be possible to have their rights terminated. If the custodial parent can prove that the other parent is unfit, abandoned the child or is not the biological parent, the judge may terminate parental rights.

If you seek to move forward with a stepparent adoption, it is important to understand the process and how to address any legal issues that might arise.