Massucci Law Group LLC - Family Law

Adopting stepchildren: The steps it takes

A stepparent adoption is similar regardless of the gender of the parent who wishes to adopt. Typically, stepparents will seek adoption if their partner's child has no second parent. For example, if their father or mother passed away or gave up their parental rights, then the stepparent would be able to seek adoption.

What's interesting about stepparent adoption is that adopting a stepchild is the most common type of adoption. It allows stepparents to take on the full responsibilities of a legal parent and revokes the rights of the noncustodial parent. This does, however, end the noncustodial parent's responsibility toward child support.

Is it difficult to adopt in a same-sex relationship?

It should not be. Similar to any other relationship, you have a right to adopt and to be married. The majority of states have actually made stepparent adoptions easier for stepparents, too. You may have to have a criminal background check, but a home study may not be required.

To adopt a stepchild, you may need to show that you have been married to the child's parent for at least a year and have been living as a family for at least one year.

Will you need a stepchild's consent to adopt them?

If the child is young, then it's unlikely that you'll need the child to consent. However, once a child reaches the ages of 10 to 14, there may be a requirement to have the child's consent before adoption can be a possibility. The noncustodial parent can generally give you consent on the child's behalf, but it's smart to make sure you speak with your attorney and receive consent in the appropriate way to make sure the adoption goes through as planned.

What should you do if you want to adopt your stepchild?

The first thing to do is to talk to your spouse about adopting your stepchild. If the noncustodial parent is very involved in the child's life, they may not want to give up their rights. It's a good idea to talk to your attorney about adoption and the methods in which you can adopt and whether adoption is a good choice in your case.

If the noncustodial parent, your spouse and your stepchild all agree that adoption is the best path forward, then it should be a straightforward case, and you should be able to adopt your stepchild with no significant problems along the way.

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