Forming a family in the modern world may require a little creativity and sacrifice. In some cases, members of separate families may want to legally bind together, which is often permissible, but complicated. Commonly, a stepparent may wish to adopt a stepchild, which requires some careful planning and execution.
All stepparent adoptions must consider the wishes of the birth parent who is giving up parental rights to the child. In fact, all stepparent adoptions must include the birth parent's permission for the adoption to go through, unless the birth parent has already forfeited their rights in some other way. If, for instance, a birth parent loses his or her parental rights because of abandonment, then it is probably not necessary to secure that parent's permission to adopt.
Securing the other parent's consent is not always very easy. In agreeing to the adoption, the birth parent generally gives up all of his or her claim to any parental rights and privileges. If the birth parent objects to the adoption, it could take some persuasion, which may stretch out the adoption process significantly. In some instances, the other parent needs to see just how positive the adoption can be for the child.
If you hope to adopt a stepchild as part of growing your family, you need to make sure you fully understand all the issues at hand and the legal options you have available. Otherwise, you may miss out on important legal opportunities and protections, prolonging the process needlessly. An experienced attorney can help you assess your circumstances and develop a strong strategy you can use to protect your rights as you grow your family.
Source: FindLaw, "Stepparent Adoption FAQ's," accessed Feb. 23, 2018