Many Oklahoma families are blended due to remarriages, and having stepchildren can be rewarding. Some stepparents may even choose to adopt their stepchild. These are the benefits of stepparent adoption and the process it involves.
Benefits of adopting your stepchild
Adoption means you are legally responsible for the child. If you decide to adopt your stepchild, you share the decision-making about their welfare with your spouse. This takes some of the burden off them regarding important matters. For example, if your stepchild has an emergency that requires a parent’s presence, you can be there if your spouse is unavailable.
Stepparent adoption can bring you and your stepchild closer. It can give both of you a sense of permanence and stability that you might not have experienced before. You can also provide benefits for the child like health insurance coverage and an inheritance.
Understanding the process of stepparent adoption
Stepparent adoption requires consent from the child’s other biological parent. They need to give up their parental rights to allow the adoption to occur, and you must file a petition in court.
Some situations don’t require consent for stepparent adoption. If the other parent has been absent from the child’s life and has not paid child support for at least 12 out of 14 months, it can be waived. You can also adopt without consent if the parent is incarcerated for 10 years or longer or fails to keep a positive relationship with the child.
In Oklahoma, children 12 and older must give written consent to stepparent adoption. On the form, they must express an understanding that their other parent will no longer be legally responsible for them.
If you already have a strong bond with your stepchild, adopting them can enhance it. It could be the best choice you ever make for your family.