There are many ways to add a child to your family. Some couples conceive and birth biological children while others adopt children from the foster system, through private adoptions, and from other countries. When an individual with children marries, whether for the first time or after a divorce, his or her spouse may adopt the children and become their legal stepparent. This is known as a stepparent adoption.
A Child Cannot Have Three Legal Parents
One of the most important points to understand about stepparent adoption is that a child cannot have three legal parents. Although many children and adults refer to a parent’s spouse as their stepparent, a stepparent only has legal rights to a child if he or she completes the stepparent adoption process, which is only possible if the child’s other biological parent voluntarily gave up his or her parental rights or if these rights were terminated by the court. Otherwise, a parent’s spouse can build a strong relationship with a child, but without the legal rights that come with being an actual parent.
When a biological parent voluntarily terminates his or her parental rights, he or she no longer has any right to parenting time with the child. He or she also cannot be required to pay child support, nor can he or she seek child support from the child’s other parent.
Completing the Stepparent Adoption Process...