If you've recently married into a family and you or your spouse have children from previous marriages, you may decide to adopt the other's children for a feeling of permanency. Some states will not allow a stepparent adoption to happen until the couple has been married for a year. Historically, the most common form of stepparent adoption is a stepfather adopting children who live with their biological mother.
If a stepparent wants to take on parental rights for his or her spouse's child, the parental rights of the noncustodial parent must be terminated. This can be done with his or her consent or by taking the issue to the courts. Although, some states allow for children to be adopted with consent as well.
Some stepparent adoptions require homestudies, criminal background checks, counseling and a marriage of at least a year. The forms required for petitioning and finalizing a stepparent adoption may be available for download online. To fill out and file these forms, you may need your marriage license, the child's birth certificate and a form of consent from the noncustodial parent. If the noncustodial parent is being difficult, it may help to hire a lawyer to take care of the consent for you.
Some of the forms may also ask if the child is changing his or her name. Be sure to discuss this with the child.
The last two forms involved in a stepparent adoption are the finalization documents and a new birth certificate, if the child is changing his or her name.
Don't miss out on finding your match at Adoption.com's Registry. For just $9.99 per year we will do the searching for you. Receive notifications automatically. Plus...find out who is searching for you!