Taking on the role of stepparent is a challenging but rewarding part of creating a blended family. It can take years for a newlywed couple’s children to adjust to the newfound situation. However, that doesn’t stop many stepparents from diving in head-first and, if the situation calls for it, considering adoption.
How can you and your spouse know if—or when—adopting the stepkids is the right move?
Factors to consider
For one thing, stepparent adoptions can happen under specific circumstances, including being married to the custodial parent. The adoption can’t move forward without some specific conditions in place related to the other parent, too. The non-custodial biological parent must:
- Be absent, or mentally incapable of caring for the children, in which case adoption can move forward by proving this in court
- Give consent, meaning they’d relinquish all of their rights as a parent to you
There are many complex reasons why a stepparent might relinquish their rights to a stepparent. Sometimes, money can play a large role in this decision. In other cases, the parent might simply recognize the stepparent has a closer relationship with the child and can provide stronger parental support.
In some cases, older children can even play a role by indicating they’d like the stepparent adopt them.
Weighing the option
Not every family is ready to jump into stepchild adoption, and not every non-custodial biological parent will be happy with the idea of it, even if it would be best for the kids.
If you decide you would like to adopt your stepchildren, consider these questions:
- Are you ready to take on financial responsibility for the children?
- Do you feel that the marriage is strong enough to validate this action?
- Are you doing it as part of an expectation, or is it a mutual decision?
- Are the children on board if they’re old enough to understand the meaning?
Stepparent adoptions are also quite affordable, which makes the process more accessible. A Family Law attorney can help you get all of the legal aspects in order.
By carefully considering all of the possibilities, you can make a well-informed decision that can help strengthen your new blended family for years to come.