One of the most common forms of adoption in the country, stepparent adoption can provide legal security to new families.
Greenlight Family Services provides stepparent adoption services for individuals who have entered a marriage with a spouse who has children from a previous relationship, adoption can be a way of formalizing their bond with their stepchild(ren). Through adoption, the step-parent accepts full responsibility for the child(ren). Adoption allows the stepparent to make legal decisions in regards to the medical, educational, and physical needs of the child(ren). Adoption establishes inheritance rights, making it possible for the child(ren) to inherit from their step-parent.
There are factors that each family must consider before deciding to move forward with an adoption through Greenlight legal services:
- The stepparent must have a legal bond with the custodial parent (the parent who has full custody of the child). This legal connection is most often established through marriage. Unmarried couples who have not established a legal bond in some other way (through a civil union, for example), will not be able to complete the step-parent adoption.
- The noncustodial parent (the parent who does not have legal custody and usually does not live with the child) will no longer have any rights or responsibilities to the child. This means that if the noncustodial parent provided assistance through child support or gifts, they will no longer be required to continue providing assistance once the step-parent adoption has been completed. Assistance can continue through a private agreement between the parties, but the noncustodial parent is not legally required to continue supporting the child once their parental rights have been terminated.
- A stepchild who is age 14 or older must consent to the adoption.
- The noncustodial parent must either voluntarily consent to the adoption, knowing that once the adoption is complete, their parental rights will be terminated. If consent cannot be obtained, such rights may be terminated by a finding of the court.