An increasing number of stepparents have moved to adopt their stepchildren in recent years. Their reasons for doing so range from the more symbolic or personal ones to more rights-oriented or legal ones. Understanding why other stepfathers and stepmothers adopt their stepchildren may help you determine whether it’s an ideal option for you and your family.
Emotional reasons to adopt
If you’re considering the possibility of adopting your stepchild, then you’re likely doing so because your child’s other biological parent is no longer in the picture. You and your stepchild may have grown attached, and you or your child may want to formalize your relationship with one another to help both of you and others understand the permanency of your connection.
Adopting your stepchildren also gives you the ability to remove the “step” in front of “parent” or “child.” You two can rightfully refer to yourselves as mom and dad or son or daughter once you finalize your adoption. You can also take on the same last name once you adopt your stepchild, further solidifying your connection to one another.
Legal reasons for adopting your stepchildren
Stepparents gain many rights when adopting their spouse’s kids. One that stands out is the ability to provide medical consent in emergencies. Another is the ability to cover your adopted stepchild on your health insurance policy.
Your stepchild will gain the same inheritance rights that your biological children have when you adopt them. You may be able to put up a stronger case for why a judge should appoint you as a guardian over your stepkids should something happen to their biological parent if you go through the legal process of adopting them as well.
How a family law attorney helps with adoptions
There’s a lot involved in the adoption process. You may need to secure a termination of a biological parent’s rights, complete name change or guardianship paperwork and take additional steps to finalize the adoption of your stepchild and be able to exercise your full parental rights here in Massachusetts. A family law attorney well-versed in handling stepparent adoptions is who you’ll want to help in your North Andover case to ensure that you do everything just right.