Should I Adopt My Stepchild?

These days, it’s very common for second marriages to take place after a divorce, and a lot of them result in blended families, meaning each spouse in the new marriage has brought together a child or children from previous marriages or relationships to live in one household together. In some cases, the bond between a stepparent and stepchild can grow strong, especially if the biological parent is minimally involved or non-existent in the child’s life.

When a stepparent is taking over full-time responsibility for their stepchild and has formed a positive, strong bond with that child, they may consider adopting their stepchild and make the relationship more formal than just a title. There are many benefits to doing this.

When a stepparent legally adopts their stepchild, they then have legal standing in the child’s life and are not challenged if they try and make legal decisions for the child, especially if the other parent is unable to. After adopting their stepchild, that parent now has all of the rights that a biological parent would have.

Adopting your stepchild also gives the child a sense of permanency, no matter how old they are. This solidification can reassure them that along with their biological parents, they now have another person that can legally look over them in and be in their lives. This also includes financial security for the child, and they become the dependents of the parent.

The greatest benefit of adopting your stepchild is the sense of unity that comes with it. For a child that has been through a divorce between their biological parents, a sense of family is very beneficial to their lives, and adopting them can be a very positive and symbolic gesture to make for your new family.

When children are extremely young (babies, toddlers) adopting them that early in their lives may not fully impact them. However, if the child is older, it’s a good idea to sit down with the entire family and have a discussion about the idea of adoption. Explain to your children what that means for them and the rest of the family, and get their opinions on it. Reassure them that this means no disrespect for their biological parent, but simply means that you are committed to their care and protection by you.

For more information on child custody and adoption of your stepchild, contact Glendale child custody attorneys at The Sampair Group. Visit us at www.sampair.com for a free consultation today.