4 things you should know about stepparent adoptions

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Forty percent of adoptions involve stepparents, tying stepparent adoptions for first place with foster care adoptions. In addition, these adoptions are typically less complicated than other types of adoption.

If you seek to adopt your stepchildren, these are a few things you should know.

1.Requirements of a stepparent adoption

Stepparent adoptions require consent. Not only do you need the consent of both the custodial and the noncustodial parent, but you need the consent of your stepchildren if they are 10 years of age or older.

You may also have to complete an extensive investigation process that includes a criminal background check, interviews, home inspections and home studies.

2.Other avenues of adoption

You may not need consent from the noncustodial parent if the court has revoked his or her parental rights. This occurs in cases of neglect, abandonment and abuse. If you have proof of these infractions, you can use them to support your adoption case as well.

3.Required documents

The court requires that you fill out stepparent adoption forms. You may have to pay a fee when you acquire and file these forms with the court. You also need your marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates and consent forms. If you do not have all the required consent forms, you may need court-ordered revocation of parental rights or other supporting documents.

4.What happens when a stepparent adopts a child

If you want to adopt your stepchildren, the noncustodial parent will lose his or her parental rights. You will then become a legal parent with your spouse. You are then responsible for the care and raising of your children, and you have all the rights of a biological parent.

Prepare yourself to help your children through their grief and uncertainty about the adoption process. Encourage open communication and create a supportive environment.

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