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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Feb 8, 2016

If you or your spouse is a step-parent chances are that you’ve considered adopting your stepchild. Most likely because you’ve grown to love your stepchild and want to strengthen your blended family. However, this is a big decision and there are many things to consider before hiring an adoption attorney.

Reasons to Adopt

Being stepparent is an interesting role in a child’s live. You may provide for them and weigh in on important parenting decisions but you are not the child’s real parent. You may want to have your role as parent solidified legally. Additionally, you may want to be able to pass on an inheritance to your child or to provide healthcare benefits. Formally adopting a child can also give them a level of stability and sense of belonging in their live.

Reasons not to Adopt

Adopting a child is a massive commitment, one that extends beyond the bonds of marriage. You should know that in the scenario that you are your spouse get divorced you will still be the legal parent of your adopted child. That being, said some couples believe that adopting a stepchild will strengthen their relationship during troubling times. We recommend that you do not adopt a child if you are currently using it a solution for a rocky marriage.

How to Adopt a Step-Daughter or Step-Son

Once you have made the decision that you definitely want to adopt your stepchild there are some major steps that must be taken to legally adopt. First you must have the stepchild’s other biological parent legal relinquish their parental rights. This is done by signing an “Adoption Surrender” in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public. Then you must file a “Petition of Adoption” along with other legal documents and await approval. For these stages it is imperative that you hire a family law attorney with experience in step-child adoption cases. Finally, if you Step-Child is older than 12, they must also consent to the adoption.