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Can any stepparent adopt a stepchild?

When you get married, it's one of the happiest days of your life. This could only be made better by the growth of your family with your stepchild. For many people, becoming the father or mother to a stepchild is a great achievement and something they're proud to do. For some, the end goal is to adopt their stepchild and become a parent with all the responsibilities and legal rights as a biological parent would have.

Stepparents sometimes find themselves in a difficult position, because despite caring for a child in the home, they're not really the child's parent and don't have the same rights. The reasons to adopt a stepchild vary from getting insurance from your provider for your stepchild to giving your stepchild a sense of belonging with you.

Keep in mind that an adoption does affect the other parent in this relationship, not just the person you married. You'll have to convince the other parent, if he or she maintains parental rights, to give them up. Many people will not want to do this, limiting your options when it comes to adoption. Even if the parent does agree to relinquish his or her rights, you may not be able to adopt if a child over the age of 12 does not consent.

You may not be able to force a parent to give up his or her parental rights, even if that is your intention. Remember, if a parent is still fit to raise a child, a court is unlikely to remove his or her parental rights for the sake of a stepparent.

Source: Mom.me, "How to Adopt a Stepchild Through Marriage," Jaime Budzienski, accessed May 11, 2018

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