Being a stepparent isn’t always easy. There can be some stigma associated with stepparents and there are certainly a lot of stories that center around stepparent abuse, both in fairy tales and in the real world. However, not all stepmothers and fathers encounter issues with their stepchildren. Many find great joy in parenting the children of their spouse and even more discover they would prefer to claim their stepchildren as their own. This is where step parent adoptions come in.
Protecting the Children Legally
One major benefit of a stepparent adoption is that it protects the children legally, especially if their biological mother or father isn’t in the picture, either due to negligence or death. If the biological parent that has custody dies, and the stepparent hasn’t adopted the children, their future could be in question. This could allow other family members to step in and claim custody. In a good family situation, this may not be what’s best for the children.
In the case of the death of both the stepparent and the biological parent, an adoption allows the stepparent to leave items to their stepkids without room for contesting from biological family members. They can also have a say in what happens to the kids since they are legally a parent.
Protecting the Children Psychologically
Unfortunately, many children don’t know where they stand with their stepparent, and it can make their home life miserable. Older kids might wonder what would happen to them if their biological parent died. The act of adoption eliminates this worry and allows the children to see a clear way forward.
Working with a Lawyer
The best way to make an adoption as smooth as possible is to work with an adoption lawyer. This is especially important if there might be legal objections from a biological parent who isn’t actually in the picture, but who is actively trying to prevent the adoption. The lawyer can take the case to a judge and show the benefit of the adoption for the kids and what would happen if the unfit biological parent prevented the adoption.
No matter how old your stepkids are, you may want to consider adopting them, especially if it’s your desire to provide them with a stable future. Talk to your spouse and to your stepkids to see if they would like to pursue it. If so, the next step is to speak with an adoption lawyer.