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Adopting Your Stepchildren

The Effects of Stepchild Adoption

There is a form of “relative adoption” known as stepchild adoption. Adopting your stepchild may seem redundant—after all, your spouse is already legally obligated to care for your stepchild, and you may already love and care for them like a biological child anyway. However, stepchild adoption offers benefits and legal ramifications that you may not be aware of.

To begin with, when you adopt your stepchild, you permanently become that child’s caretaker. That means you are liable for child support in the event of a divorce, and that child becomes entitled to inheriting your estate. In every sense, your stepchild stops being your stepchild and is simply your son or daughter. For that reason, stepchild adoption is a profound statement of commitment to your blended family, beautiful and set in stone.

Another legal effect of stepchild adoption is that the child’s biological parent (who is not your spouse) loses all rights and obligations regarding that child. If you are the stepmother to your husband’s child, a stepchild adoption would terminate all rights and privileges the biological mother possessed. All child support owed would be forfeit, and that child would legally belong to you.

Why Adopt Your Stepchild?

Like we mentioned earlier, a stepchild adoption can be an incredible declaration of commitment and love. It may also be a way to legally validate what is already an emotional reality. However, it can also serve a practical legal purpose. If that child’s parent—your spouse—dies, you may want to solidify your legal relationship to your stepchild through adoption. In addition, you may want to clarify your stepchild’s ability to inherit your estate by adopting them and giving them equal legal standing with your biological children.

As always, The Harris Law Firm offers cost-effective legal services to guide you through the adoption process. Difficulties may arise if the child’s biological parent objects to the adoption, or complications may arise for a few other reasons. When complex situations arise, the family law attorneys at our firm are prepared to give you clarity and direction. Contact us if you have a legal question regarding your situation.

For any help or guidance regarding stepchild adoption, call The Harris Law Firm at (303) 622-5502.

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