If you want to adopt your stepchild, you are not alone. Adoption of stepchildren is the most common type of adoption. Stepparent adoption is the perfect way to do the following:
- Obtain parenting rights
- Provide inheritance rights to your stepchild
- Formalize the relationship you already have
However, you may face some legal and emotional challenges while trying to adopt your stepchild. Here are some guidelines to overcome the obstacles of the adoption process.
1. Understand the law
There are important legal requirements for a stepparent adoption to take place. The most important requirement is consent. This means you must essentially get permission from both biological parents, including the absent or noncustodial one. If the other parent does not approve of the adoption, this may be a significant roadblock.
2. Know when consent is not necessary
Despite the importance of consent in most cases, there are special circumstances in which you may be able to override this rule. If the noncustodial parent is not actively communicating or financially supporting the child, his or her consent may not be a requirement. This is because the law promotes supportive and active parents. You will need to have strong proof of these situations. An attorney will be able to let you know if you do not need to get consent from the absent parent.
3. Prepare for the responsibilities
If you successfully adopt your stepchild, that does not necessarily mean it will all be smooth sailing for the future. You must be ready for all the obligations that come with being an adoptive parent. The law will treat your parent-child relationship as if the child is your biological child. Among other things, you will need to financially support your child. If you succeed with an adoption, your parent-child relationship will not change in the event of a divorce.
Adopting your stepchild may come with some stressful complications, but it is a worthy pursuit.