STEPPARENT ADOPTIONS CAN OCCUR IN SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES
Some stepparents play such an active role in a child’s life that they want to adopt the child as their own. This is usually a wonderful experience for the child, but there are very specific conditions that must be met in order for the adoption to take place.
One of the primary factors when a stepparent adopts a stepchild is the consent of the birth parents. Both of the child’s birth parents, including the stepparent’s spouse and the other birth parent, must consent to the adoption unless the other birth parent abandoned the child. When the other birth parent consents to the adoption, he or she gives up all rights and responsibilities to the child. This means that the parent no longer has to pay child support and that all child custody agreements are null and void.
If the child is an older child, he or she will likely have to consent to being adopted. This is one way that the court lets the child be a part of this major life change.
The custodial birth parent and the adopting stepparent will have to submit paperwork regarding the adoption. This includes having an investigator write out a report. Once this is done, these two parents will go to court with the child for hearing. When the adoption is finalized, a new birth certificate is issued with the stepparent’s name on it.
It is up to each parent to ensure that they fully understand what is going on with the adoption. This includes thinking about how the adoption impacts your rights and responsibilities, as well as how it can impact the child.
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, “Stepparent Adoption,” accessed June 16, 2017