What should you know about adopting your stepchild?

Being a stepparent can be rewarding for many Pennsylvania residents. However, you might want to go a step further and adopt your stepchild. It’s important to know what the process entails.

Why should you adopt your stepchild?

You might want to adopt your stepchild because of the strong and loving bond you have with them. Even if you’re not their biological parent, the child might have a better relationship with you than with that parent. You might want to protect the child from potential issues in the future such as an inheritance.

It’s common for a stepparent to also make the move to adopting their stepchild when the biological parent is absent from their life or after that parent has passed away. As their legal parent after the adoption, certain doors open up. You can easily add the child to your estate plan or to your health insurance plan. When the child is adopted, you don’t have to worry about going through any legal problems.

What is the stepparent adoption process?

It’s faster and easier for a stepparent to adopt their stepchild than to adopt a child through an adoption agency. Because the child is already involved in the family dynamic, fewer steps need to be taken. Prospective parents unknown to the child are required to go through extensive screening and interviews, background checks, home studies and more. Stepparent adoption doesn’t require all those steps. The child is probably already living with the stepparent, which makes things easier.

The biological parent must consent to the adoption. They must relinquish parental rights. This is easier when the parent is estranged from the child. If that parent is absent, they might be willing to relinquish their parental rights because they would no longer have to pay child support. If the parent is absent from the child’s life, the court might terminate their parental rights.

Adopting your stepchild is a highly rewarding experience that can bring you even closer as a family.