Legal Issues Involved With Adopting a Stepchild

Is This Legal?

I have many step parents call in to and ask me “Is a step parent adoption legal?” I am going to tell you the same exact thing I tell them. If it’s not legal, someone better make the judges aware of it! HAHA! Okay, seriously now. Yes, it is completely legal to adopt your step child. Actually, adopting a stepchild is the most common form of adoption. According to the 2000 US Census 4.4 million step children were adopted.

Want to Know the 5 Simple Steps of Step Parent Adoption? Get it here

Child Support Issues

Most parents receive some type of child support to help care for their child. In most cases, this is court ordered and MUST be paid.Once your stepparent adoption is completed, all future child support will stop.However, if there is any back child support that is owed this must still be paid back.The reason is because this money is owed by the payer for the time that they did NOT completely support their child. Many step parents feel that they do not need this money anymore. However, if the courts have ordered it, then it must be paid. If you and your spouse decide the back child support is not needed then put it aside and save it for your step child’s college fund or whatever you deem necessary.

Want to Know the 5 Simple Steps of Step Parent Adoption? Get it here


Missing Biological Parent

Something that I hear quite often is that a step child’s biological parent is missing. They have  not attempted contact and cannot be found.If this happens to you, you may be thinking that you cannot complete a stepparent adoption. This is not the case! Most states have exceptions to the rule about receiving consent from the biological parent. This usually includes something to the effect of “if the biological parent has not contacted or supported the child for X amount of time then consent is not needed.”

This does not mean that you can just say “I tried and they cannot be found.” You do have to make a genuine effort to locate the missing biological parent. This includes reaching out to family, friends, work, etc. Then if the parent cannot be found, you can proceed with the stepparent adoption.

What If the Biological Parent Wants to Remain in Contact?

Generally, if the biological parent is in agreement to you adopting your step child but wants to remain in contact – then all adults should sit down and come to an agreement on what is acceptable. For example, I spoke with a smart woman just the other day, who was wanting to adopt her stepchildren. The biological mother agreed to the adoption but requested that she receive letters and pictures of the children every 3 months. This was agreed upon by all of the adults. No big deal!

I strongly urge you to keep your stepchild’s wishes in mind when making these types of arrangements with the biological parent.

Want to Know the 5 Simple Steps of Step Parent Adoption? Get it here

Biological Grandparent Involvement

When you consider an adoption more than likely the grandparents are not thought of as being relevant. Just keep in mind that even though the biological parent is willing to let you adopt your stepchild this does not mean that the grandparents want to give up their grandchild. If it is in the best interest of your stepchild, then it can hurt no one to allow the bio-grandparents to still see their grandchild. What kid doesn’t want 3 sets of grandparents to spoil them?? Usually it is wonderful if everyone can agree upon a visitation schedule with the grandparents or allowing telephone calls, etc.

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