Becoming a stepparent is often a side effect of falling in love. You may not have set out to become a parental figure to a child, but you fell in love with someone who already had a kid. After years of living together, you now care as much about your stepchild as you do any other member of your family.
You may dislike the idea that you could lose out on your relationship with your stepchild if anything were to happen to your spouse and may want to give them the security of knowing they have two parents who love them and want them to have the best future possible.
Are you ready to go from being a stepparent to the adoptive parent of your stepchild?
You need permission to adopt
Obviously, your spouse will need to support your desire to become the legal adoptive parent of their child. In many cases, is also important to talk with the child and get their permission as well.
It will be more challenging for you to get permission from the other parent of the child if they are still alive. In a scenario where the other parent died or the state terminated their rights, you need permission primarily from your spouse and the Florida courts.
However, if the other parent is still alive, you will need them to approve the adoption as well, regardless of how much involvement they currently have with your stepchild. They will have to sign paperwork terminating their parental rights in order for you to proceed with your adoption.
Everyone can benefit from a stepparent adoption
You stand to gain legal protection for your relationship with your stepchild regardless of what happens in the future. Your stepchild will gain another parent who has a legal responsibility to support them. Your spouse may benefit from the added security that comes from such arrangements. Even the other parent of your stepchild could benefit, as your adoption might end their child support obligations.
Of course, getting written permission is only part of the process. Although a home study may not be necessary, you may still have to undergo a state review. You will absolutely need to go through family court to have a judge approve your adoption.
Initiating the process of a stepparent adoption could be the right move for you and your family.