Not every stepparent is eligible to adopt their stepchild, but you may find yourself in the situation where you’re able to do so. Your stepchild’s biological parent may have prematurely passed away, never established their paternity, voluntarily gave up their parental rights, or lost them due to long-term incarceration or abuse allegations.
Many stepparents assume that adopting their stepchild does nothing more than formalizes their relationship and reduces the need to continue using the prefix “step-“. Stepparents derive so many more benefits from becoming legal parents to their stepchildren. You may find this information helpful as you try to decide whether pursuing a stepparent adoption is right for you.
What benefits might you derive by adopting your stepchild?
Many stepparents pursue adoption as a way of ensuring that they’re in prime position to assume the role of legal guardian over their stepchild if their husband or wife were to pass away. The court would likely turn over a child to the custody of the deceased primary custodian’s family if a stepparent never pursued adoption.
Another desirable benefit associated with pursuing adoption is that it gives a stepparent legal rights over their stepchild. It allows a stepmom or stepdad an opportunity to make religious, educational or medical decisions on their stepchild’s behalf. Adoption also allows a stepparent to add a stepchild to their health insurance plan.
A stepparent adoption also affords a stepchild a right to receive an inheritance, much like any other biological child would enjoy.
Any stepchild adopted by their stepparent may have a valid reason for requesting a change in last names.
Understanding more about the stepparent adoption process
There are many benefits associated with becoming your stepchild’s legal parent. You’re likely to have questions about what steps you must take to move forward in the adoption process. A family law attorney with extensive experience in handling this type of legal case should be able to provide the answers that you’re looking for.