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Adoption as a stepparent

Providing a two-parent household can prove beneficial to the healthy growth of a child. When a stepparent desires to adopt his or her spouse's child, it is a beautiful thing that may help enhance the family bond.

For those considering adopting a stepchild, it is important to fully understand the task at hand. There are a few key aspects of the stepparent adoption process.

Purpose

There are several benefits of gaining stepparent rights, especially if the stepparent's spouse has primary custody. Gaining custody gives the stepparent rights over the child, which allows the stepparent to take legal actions, such as providing medical coverage. In addition, it gives the stepparent the right to make critical decisions for the child moving forward.

Requirements

A stepparent must meet a few requirements to be eligible to adopt a child. Consent is also a critical requirement of the process. Stepparents can apply with or without a parent's consent; however, the petition will be more likely to succeed with the consent of at least one parent. If the non-spouse of the stepparent still maintains parental rights, the parties must either seek to obtain the consent of that parent or they may seek to terminate the parent's rights within the adoption request. On the other hand, if the non-spousal parent's parental rights are already terminated, it can make for a smoother petitioning process.

Filing

As with any legal proceeding or request, the stepparent must file a petition for adoption. If the spouse of the stepparent consents to the adoption, then the two parties may complete the joint petition for adoption. Through the paperwork and following court proceeding, the stepparent must prove a bond with the child and show the adoption would be in the best interest of the child.

The adoption process can be long and strenuous at times. However, for those committed to the process and who see it through, the result is worth the effort.

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