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As a stepparent, can you adopt your spouse’s child?

by | Apr 6, 2021 | Family Law |

As a stepparent, you may be the person who raised your spouse’s child.  Now, you may feel that they are your child, even though you aren’t biologically related.

If you want to adopt your stepchild, it may be possible.  However, there are some restrictions that might make it difficult for you to do so.  Here are a few things that you need to consider.

When children have two biological parents, adoption is harder

For stepparents, it’s much more difficult to adopt stepchildren when they still have both biological parents in their lives.  Even if they’re only receiving support from one parent, that person is still fulfilling a role as a parent.

To have the opportunity to adopt your stepchild, there normally has to be a release of those parental responsibilities and rights.  The biological mother or father would need to:

  • Give up their parental rights
  • Have their parental rights taken away
  • Pass away

Once one of those things happen, then you may have the opportunity to adopt your stepchild.

Before you adopt, make sure it’s right for your situation

Before you turn to adoption, you do need to make sure it’s right for your situation.  You need to make sure that your spouse approves of the adoption.  You also need to be sure that you are legally able to move forward with the adoption.

If your stepchild is old enough to have an opinion on the matter, then it is important to talk to them about adoption and if that is something that they would be interested in.  Adoption is a good way to provide them with stability, but it does usually sever the relationship between them and their other biological parent.  Keep that in mind if you want to take on the role, because there is a potential for the grieving process to take place as well.

If you are considering the adoption of your stepchild, it’s a good idea to talk to your spouse and attorney about the options you have.  If you can legally adopt them, then your attorney can help you move forward with the appropriate paperwork.


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