When stepparents reside with their stepchildren and act as primary caregivers, they can initiate a stepparent adoption. Through a stepparent adoption, a stepparent will acquire the right and responsibility of parenting and raising his/her stepchild. In addition, the child’s non-residential biological parent will lose all of his/her rights and responsibilities to the child. As a result, he/she will no longer be required to pay child support.
To initiate a stepparent adoption, an individual must obtain consent from the child’s primary residential parent. Each state contains unique laws regarding stepparent adoption, so it is important that an individual review the laws in his/her state.
Subsequently, he/she can obtain, complete, and submit all necessary legal documents to his/her local court clerk. The judge will review the adoption petition and either authorize or deny the stepparent adoption. Following the authorization of the adoption, the child’s parents can obtain a new birth certificate with both of their names on it.