How easy is it for stepparents to adopt?

Marrying someone who already has children gives you the opportunity to be a new parent to children who may not have an active father or mother in their lives. Your relationship with the children of your spouse may become so strong that you want to take the next step and adopt them as your own.

A stepparent adoption can benefit children by giving them the same rights as children of a biological parent. However, you may wonder if being their stepparent will make it easier to adopt them or not.

Reasons that stepparent adoption may be easier

A key advantage you have as a stepparent is that you are already related to the mother or father of the children involved. This creates an existing family dynamic with the biological parent and with the children. According to FindLaw, this dynamic may motivate a family court to remove some of the usual steps involved with adoption. For example, a court may waive the step of a social worker visiting your home to check on the current family situation.

Issues with a biological parent

Be aware that you must have the consent of the other biological parent to go through with the adoption. If the other parent has no relationship with the children, he or she might go along with relinquishing parental rights so that you may adopt the children. Still, some birth parents resist the idea of giving up their rights even if they have no strong relationship with their offspring.

However, if a court should terminate the rights of the other parent, you would be free to proceed with an adoption. A court might terminate rights if the judge determines the parent has abandoned his or her children, failed to provide child support or become unfit. To determine the fitness of a parent, a court will look at whether the parent is serving a prison sentence, has a mental disorder, suffers from substance addiction or has shown abusive or neglectful behavior.

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