Adopting a stepchild has the potential to be one of the most important times in both your lives. Adoption is a serious step, though, so it’s important that you know if it’s the right choice for your situation. You may have seen many videos of people uniting through adoption and the love it can bring, but it also has a potential to put strain or pressure on children or their biological parents.

When you consider adopting your stepchild, remember that one biological parent does have to give up his or her rights. Adoption makes you legally responsible for your stepchild, making him or her your child by law. You’ll have all the same responsibilities of any birth parent.

You’ll need to obtain permission from your stepchild’s biological father or mother to complete an adoption unless he or she has already lost his or her parental rights. If he or she has not given up his or her parental rights, then he or she must sign a consent form to terminate all parental rights over your stepchild. Not all parents want to do this, even if they’re only in their children’s lives occasionally. If the parent won’t give up his or her rights, it could be possible to have the court remove his or her rights under certain circumstances.

Finally, you’ll have to go through the adoption process. You’ll have to file a petition to adopt, and then you’ll need to provide all requested information to the court in a timely manner. You need to complete a criminal background check as well before the court can proceed with the adoption. Your attorney can help you gather this information and prepare for your date in court.

Source: Adoption.org, “9 Things To Know When Adopting Your Stepchild,” accessed March 07, 2018

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