Ready to adopt your stepchild? Make sure you legally can

| Feb 4, 2021 | Family Law |

You have raised your stepchild since they were very young, and it is your goal to be as much of a parent to them as their biological parents are. You have a strong relationship with one another, so something you’d like to do is to seek to adopt your stepchild. Your spouse is in agreement, but there is one other biological parent to consider.

Beneficially, you will not have to worry about post-placement or home study requirements as you would in traditional adoption scenarios, but you may need to ask the other parent for permission to adopt the child. If the biological father or mother rejects your request to adopt your stepchild, then you may be unable to do so.

Can you adopt your stepchild if both biological parents are in their life?

Usually, you are unable to adopt your stepchild if both biological parents are still in their life. For example, if the father of your stepchild still sees them regularly throughout the week, has custody and is involved in a parenting plan with your spouse, the likelihood is that you won’t be able to adopt your stepchild.

However, if the other parent is willing to give up their parental rights or has them stripped for some reason, then you may be able to petition the court to adopt your stepchild as long as your spouse agrees.

Should you talk to your stepchild before starting the adoption process?

Depending on how old your stepchild is, it may be a good idea to talk to them about the adoption process and if they are interested in being adopted. While your child may not have to give consent (depending on their age), they still may need to go to the hearing and be present before the judge. Helping them know what to expect will give them the opportunity to prepare and be ready for that appearance.

Adoption is a serious issue and one that you should consider carefully before pursuing. Your spouse and child should be in agreement that this is the right choice, and if so, then continue to pursue this option.