How to Adopt a Stepchild Through Wedding: 8 Steps - MakeSureHow
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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, most people remarry following a divorce, and half of the households created by remarriage include children under age 18. This blending of families often leads spouses to contemplate adoption by the stepparent. Considered the most common form of adoption, the stepparent becomes fully responsible for his or her spouse's child. Stepparent adoption is governed by state law, but many states make the requirements for this type of adoption less stringent than in other types of adoptions. The benefits of adoption are numerous, including a sense of unity, equal status and financial security.

Steps

  1. 1
    Check out the relevant laws for your state. Some states offer information packets. Most require that adoptive parents secure the services of a lawyer.
  2. 2
    Obtain a consent to adopt from the noncustodial parent of the child. This release relinquishes all the parent's rights and duties in respect to that child. Most states require the consent to be in writing and notarized or executed by the court.
  3. 3
    Talk to older children and secure their consent as well. Many states allow children around age 12 and older to have input into their own adoptions.
  4. 4
    Consult a qualified counselor or adoption lawyer to discuss all the benefits and ramifications of the adoption to insure that it is in the family's best interest.
  5. 5
    Submit the legal forms, including the consent to adopt, marriage license and copies of the child's birth certificate. Forms may also require you to list the child's current name and the name after adoption.
  6. 6
    Attend the hearing set by the court. The judge will ask everyone involved pertinent questions concerning the family's circumstances and decision to adopt.
  7. 7
    Finalize the adoption by attending a second hearing scheduled by the court. At this hearing the adoption certificate is issued.
  8. 8
    Apply for a new birth certificate. This document will list the child's new name and list the stepparent as his or her parent.TipWorking closely with a lawyer helps most adopters avoid the pitfalls that sometimes happen in any adoption. States have a wide range of provisions that protect the rights of children, birth parents and adoptive parents. Good legal advice helps everything move smoothly toward the desired outcome.WarningStepparent adoption is not just a one-time event, but one step toward a well-blended family unit. Adjustment is required both before and after the adoption for a family to be successful. Maintaining a relationship with a qualified counselor is invaluable.

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