Adopting a Stepchild
Choosing to move forward with adopting a stepchild is a major decision for anyone to make, and each family unit must decide if adoption is the best decision for their family.
A number of procedural requirements must be met before a stepparent can adopt a child. Most importantly and usually the primary reason a stepparent willing to adopt a child is unable to do so, is the requirement that the child’s other, non-custodial biological parent must either consent to the adoption or have his/her parental rights terminated before the child is even able to be adopted. Terminating a parent’s rights is not an easy feat and oftentimes, is not even a realistic option.
Adoption offers parents peace of mind when the non-custodial biological parent is unable or unwilling to properly care for a child by providing them the knowledge that their spouse will legally be able to continue to care for the child in the event the custodial parent is no longer able to. Also, adoption offers the family more flexibility with respect to who can register the child for school or take the child to a doctor’s appointment or with any other parental responsibilities.
If the adoption is successful, the stepparent is now legally responsible for the child permanently. This is not a temporary decision, and if the biological parent predeceases the stepparent or if the two divorce, the stepparent will still continue to be the child’s parent as if he/she were the child’s biological parent. Furthermore, the parents need to be cognizant of the emotional and social effects of the adoption to the child and should be prepared to ensure that the child receives all of the support needed.
Contact Sefton Kelly Family Law today to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney to discuss the requirements and effects of the adoption process.
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