Stepparent Adoptions: Facts You Should Know
In today's world, there are more blended families than ever before. Unfortunately, while society may recognize the role that stepparents can play in a child's life, the law does not automatically recognize this parental role. In fact, in many states, unless the stepparent takes action to legally adopt the child, this stepparent will have little or no rights regarding the child's upbringing. Furthermore, if something was to ever happen to the other parent or the parent and stepparent were to get divorced, the stepparent may find that they have no visitation or custody rights. This is why more and more stepparents are choosing to pursue a stepparent adoption. If you have also been considering this type of adoption, there are a few facts that you should know before moving forward with the process.
Fact: Stepparent Adoptions Are Just As Permanent As Traditional Adoptions
It's sad but true — not all marriages will last forever. In the event that you and your spouse should ever divorce, it is important to understand that your responsibilities will continue as an adopted stepparent, even after the divorce. This means that if the children continue to reside with their biological parent, you could be held responsible for child support until the child reaches adulthood. You may also be responsible for meeting the child's other needs, such as providing medical insurance or paying for childcare.
Fact: Not All Stepparents Will Be Granted A Stepparent Adoption
Simply having an existing relationship with the child you wish to adopt is not enough for the court to grant your adoption petition. If you wish to successfully adopt your stepchild, you will need to demonstrate to the court that you are able to care for this child, as well as yourself. This means providing proof of a steady income, as well as the ability to meet the child's medical, emotional, and physical needs.
In many cases, you will also be required to provide proof of a stable home environment. In order to meet this requirement, you will typically need to be married to the child's birth parent for at least one year prior to filing your adoption petition.
While the process of adopting your stepchildren can be quite complex, it can also be incredibly rewarding. If still wish to pursue a stepparent adoption after reviewing the facts above, contacting a family lawyer, like those at Mills & Mills Law Group, will be your first step towards making this dream a reality.