A stepparent plays an important role in a child's life, especially when the stepparent is with the child for the majority of the time. When the only biological parent who is in the child's life is the one who is married to the stepparent, there is a chance that the child relies heavily on the stepparent for support, love, and raising. Some stepparents want to take steps to make the relationship between them and their stepchildren more official.
Stepparent adoption is something that is possible for many families. Making the decision to adopt their stepchildren is a big step for the stepparent. It means that the stepparent is legally acknowledging his or her desire to take care of the child financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When it comes to stepparent adoption, it isn't possible for the adoption to occur if the other biological parent is still in the picture legally. If the adoption is going to move forward, the other biological parent has to either relinquish his or her rights to the child or the court has to terminate those rights without the parent's consent.
In some cases, the stepparent and biological parent who is in the child's life might have to show that the other biological parent has abandoned the child. It is also possible that the court would ask the child his or her wishes about the adoption.
If you are planning a stepparent adoption, make sure that you fully understand what the process entails and what your responsibilities will be when it is finalized. Properly preparing for the adoption process, which is usually less entailed than other adoptions, can help everything go smoother.
Source: FindLaw, "Stepparent Adoption FAQ's," accessed Sep. 16, 2016