Adopting Stepchildren with the Help of a Family Lawyer

a father holding the hand of his newly adopted childStepfamilies are becoming increasingly common in the U.S., and a number of stepchild adoptions are growing in conjunction. According to one statistic from PEW Research, 42% of adults have a type of step relationship—either a stepparent, a step or half sibling, or a stepchild. Other statistics indicate that approximately one-third of all weddings in America today form stepfamilies. Divorce, remarriage, and stepchild adoption are complicated legal issues. For this reason, it is wise to consult with a legal expert along the way. Here are a few facts about step child adoption from an experienced family lawyer.

Reasons for Adopting

Step parents choose to adopt for several reasons. These reasons are often fueled by legal or emotional motivations. While no legal document can take the place of an emotional bond, some step parents desire to formalize their relationships with their new stepchildren. Other step parents desire to have a say in education, medical treatment, and other such factors. Adoption will also allow a stepchild to easily receive an inheritance from his or her stepparent. Blended family situations can be complicated, but adopting can help solidify the family into one cohesive unit.

Reasons for Holding Off on Adoption

While adoption is an exciting prospect for many step parents, it is important to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Some step parents think that adopting their spouses’ children will help fortify a struggling marriage. Adoption can actually add stress to the situation and cause the children to feel like pawns. Before moving forward with adoption, make sure to consider what is best for all parties involved, especially the step children.

Moving Forward with Adoption

If you have decided that adoption is the right step for you and your step family, there are a few major steps you need to take. First and foremost, your step children’s’ other biological parent must give up his or her parental rights. This is done by signing a public document that consents to the adoption. Next, you must file a petition to adopt that will be evaluated by the courts. Lastly, any children over the age of 12 must also consent to the adoption. A family lawyer can help blended families navigate the complex components of these three steps.

Support from a Family Lawyer

Since “Yours, Mine, and Our’s” families becoming more and more common, family lawyers are frequently employed for matters of step parent adoption. So, if you are considering adopting your stepchild and want to ensure that the legal process goes smoothly, don’t hesitate to contact a professional legal representative at the Aranda Law Firm today!