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Should you adopt your stepchildren?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Child Custody |

If you married a spouse who already has children, one of the most important decisions you need to make is whether you will adopt your stepchildren. Recent years saw an increase in the number of stepparents who have adopted their stepchildren, often for personal or symbolic reasons. There are numerous factors you need to consider in making this decision, and understanding why stepparents adopt their spouse’s children may help you determine if it is the right choice for you and your family.

Eliminating the “step” from “parent” and “child”

Maybe you and your stepchild have formed an attachment, or you both want to formalize your relationship with one another and make it permanent. Once the adoption is final, you can rightfully refer to each other as parent and child.

There is an increasing number of stepparents who adopt their stepchildren for emotional reasons, but there are key factors to note. You need to make sure that the child’s other biological parent is out of the picture. You may need to secure a termination of a biological parent’s rights, complete name change or guardianship paperwork. Additional steps may also be necessary in finalizing the adoption of your stepchild and be able to exercise your full parental rights.

You gain legal rights over the children

Adopting your stepchild gives you legal rights over them. This can mean you are now able to provide medical consent in emergencies and cover them on your health insurance policy. You may also be able to build a stronger case for why a judge should grant you guardianship should anything happen to their biological parent.

Furthermore, your stepchild will gain the same inheritance rights as your biological children when you adopt them.

Adopting your spouse’s children may come with a potentially long and complicated process, but getting to call them your own – in all the ways that matter – makes it worth it in the end.