Stepparent Adoptions

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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In stepparent adoptions, using the mother as an example, the new husband adopts his wife's child by a previous marriage. In such cases, if the birth father (or mother) consents to the stepparent adopting the child, the process is remarkably simple. If the birth father (or mother) does not consent or cannot be found, it is less so. The paperwork increases and hiring an attorney may be appropriate.

Facts on Stepparent Adoptions

Stepparent adoptions are by far the most common type of adoption in the United States. Oddly, the precise numbers of stepparent adoptions are not known. No studies have been conducted despite the rise in stepparent adoptions in recent years.

Laws on stepparent adoptions vary from state to state. Some states require two years of marriage before allowing it. Common legal forms required for stepparent adoptions include affidavits of waiver, consent to adoption, petition for stepparent adoption, and of course, decree of stepparent adoption.

If you want to adopt a stepchild, the first step is to learn what your state adoption laws are and how they apply to your situation. After that you will want to contact your local jurisdiction to obtain the legal forms you will need. These forms can often also be found easily online. After submitting this paperwork to the court with the appropriate fees, you will then wait for word of a court hearing date. Once you appear at the hearing--presuming all else is well--the adoption is usually finalized. Amended birth certificates can be issued, depending on the age of the child.

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