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2013 Guide to Adopting Your Stepchild

As with all other forms of adoption within the US, laws that can change from one state to the next govern stepparent adoption. Learn all about it with the 2013 Guide to Adopting Your Stepchild.


Most US states consider stepparent adoption a healthy step for families, and generally will make such adoptions simpler for prospective stepparents. However, each of the states within our union varies with legal issues, restrictions, rules, and steps toward stepchild adoption. As an example, while some states require a criminal background check for stepparents, others do not, even when a home study is a regular part of the process. For these reasons, stepparents-to-be are urged to know the laws that pertain to adoption within the state where they and any biological parents who may need to be petitioned reside.

The length of the adoption process does vary from one state to the next, and guidelines that can lengthen the process will determine the time frame. As an example, while one state will not approve a stepparent adoption unless biological parent and prospective adoptive stepparent have been married for a minimum of twelve months.

What spouses looking to adopt prospect stepchildren need to know can be found in the complete 2013 Guide to Adopting Your Stepchild. The guide includes information spanning such topics as consent of the biological parent outside the marriage, how to find out the laws that govern stepparent adoption in the state where adoptive families reside, how to find and properly submit the required legal forms for stepparent adoption with the help of an online adoption lawyer, and how to contact and work with the court(s) that will preside over the adoption process where the family lives, be it on the city, county, or state level.
Prospective adoptive stepparents will have to attend a hearing for the adoption to be final and binding, but before reaching this “crossing of the finish line,” there are some important pieces of information about the adoptive stepchild will be requested by the state and also by the online attorney for stepchild adoptions. Some, but not all of these pieces of information include:
·      What the child’s name at birth (on the legal birth certificate) is,
·      What the child’s name will become as a part of the stepparent adoption process,
·      When and where the child was born,
·      The length of time (according to a legal marriage license) the prospective adoptive stepparent has been married to the child’s biological parent
The 2013 Guide to Adopting Your Stepchild covers how to prepare all of this information in the manner consistent with what the presiding court(s) will require. In addition, this helpful guide, which comes in the form of a downloadable PDF pamphlet for browsing or for download/printing, also covers some of the less obvious steps that are important to take as part of the stepchild adoption process. For example, it’s important to have a talk with the child who will be adopted by a stepparent, and to ensure that they are on the same page with the parents emotionally. It is of paramount importance that the child to be adopted understands whether his or her name will change and why, and how this may affect him or her. Children facing stepparent adoption, in many cases, have already gone through the tough times associated with a divorce prior to their biological mom and dad’s divorce or split, so it’s important for them to be able to adjust. The 2013 Guide to Adopting Your Stepchild can help guide prospective adoptive stepparents and their spouses with these aspects of the adoption process.
One of the most exciting outcomes of a stepparent adoption, once it has been finalized, is the issuance of the child’s new birth certificate. On the new, revised birth certificate, the child’s legal name will be changed to bear the last name of a stepparent if the stepparent is an adoptive father, and if the stepparent is the mother, her name will be added to the birth certificate, but no name change—unless further steps are taken—will be required. Once in hand, showing the child who was adopted his or her new birth certificate can be a great way to celebrate, engage them in the finalization of the adoption, and concretely illustrate that their family is complete, and recognized as such by the governing bodies where the family resides.


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