Step-parent Adoption
Key Points
  • There may be a situation where a step-parent is able to adopt the stepchild. In this instance, the process may be difficult, it may mean the natural parent is giving up his or her legal rights; either voluntarily or involuntarily in the case of abandonment or abuse.
  • In order for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild, the non-custodial parent is removed from the child’s life as a legal parent; this happens either by the parent’s request, the judge’s order, with consent, or when a natural parent dies.

Sometimes stepparents want to adopt their stepchildren, but this process is very difficult because unless the natural parent consents, courts are very reluctant to separate biological parents and children. Stepparent adoption frees the natural parent of support obligations and removes his or her presence from the lives of the children, and some stepparents feel that legal parenthood makes the process of blending easier.

In the words of one family law attorney, Sue Moss of Chemtob, Moss, Forman & Talbert, the stepparent remains "a biological and legal stranger" to stepchildren. This means "the stepparents may adopt only after the noncustodial parent has been removed from the status of legal parent by consent, court order, or death."

A court can involuntarily strip a parent of his or her rights when he or she abandons a child, which generally means "no contact between the parent and child for at least one year."

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
Creating a Successful Parenting Plan Creating a Successful Parenting Plan
This extraordinary book and computer disk offers separating or divorcing parents a sure-fire way to create a workable, practical parenting plan/agreement that is in the best interest of their children.

Author: Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

Recent Related Blog Posts
    All Parenting Blog Posts

Related Article Archives
Custody & Visitation
Parental Alienation
    All Article Archives

Related Categories
Children & Divorce
Child Relocation
Collect & Paying Child Support
    All Categories
Related Forums
Child Custody
Child Removal
Child Support
Helping Children
Stepfamily Issues
    All Forums

Resources & Tools

Bookstore Promotion Discount

Start Your Divorce Online Start Your Divorce
Several Options to Get Started Today.
Divorce Tools Online Divorce Tools
Keeping it Simple to Get the Job Done.
Divorce Downloads Download Center
Instantly Download Books, Guides & Forms.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Books
Over 100 of the Best Divorce & Custody Books.
Negotiate Online Negotiate Online
Settle your Divorce and Save.
Custody and Support Tracking Custody Scheduling
Make Sure You Document Everything.
A GOOD PARENTING PLAN -- A parenting plan – one that spells out the terms and conditions of custody and visitation -- makes clear the rights and responsibilities of both parents.
Custody Scheduling and Tracking

Children In Between - Online Parenting Class

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Online Parenting Plans

Online Parenting Plans

3StepParentingPlanTM uses cutting-edge online software to create your Parenting Plan. Using a smart question-and-answer application, 3StepParentingPlanTM gets you a fully customized Parenting Plan in a little more than half of a lawyerÕs billable hour.

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site