gtag('config', 'AW-945928078/0s88CMHj_mMQju-GwwM', { 'phone_conversion_number': '248-723-5190' });


4 Benefits of Adopting Your Stepchild

Adopting a stepchild isn’t always an easy process. If a non-custodial parent is alive, their rights must first be terminated before an adoption can occur.

In some cases, the non-custodial parent may agree to this, which makes the process easier. If the non-custodial parent doesn’t agree, a judge must decide whether their rights should be terminated so you may legally adopt.

If a child is 14 or older in Michigan, the child must also agree to adoption and sign a Consent to Adoption by Adoptee form. Despite potential challenges during the process, there are several benefits to families when a stepparent adopts a stepchild.

1. Parental Authority

As a stepparent, you can help raise your spouse’s child, but you won’t have the same legal rights to make decisions about education, healthcare, religion, and so on for the child. This could be problematic in situations where the biological parent isn’t available.

As an adoptive parent, you will take on all the rights and responsibilities of a biological parent, including the right to make legal decisions and the responsibility to provide for the needs of the child. These rights and responsibilities are permanent.

2. Protections in the Event of Divorce, Incapacitation, or Death

When you take an active role in parenting a stepchild, you may naturally worry about what could happen in the event of divorce or a situation where your spouse is incapacitated or passes away unexpectedly. If you have no legal rights or responsibilities, your stepchild could be claimed by other family members, including the non-custodial parent or extended blood relations like grandparents.

When you adopt your stepchild, you gain the same legal rights and responsibilities as a biological parent. This means you can petition for joint custody in the event of divorce, and you may be required to pay child support. If your spouse is incapacitated or dies, you will become solely responsible for caring for your stepchild and making parental decisions.

3. Inheritance Rights

In most states, stepchildren don’t have the same rights to inheritance as biological children. While a stepparent can always bequeath assets or other items to stepchildren through a will or trust, adopting a stepchild infers the same legal rights to inheritance as biological children enjoy, helping to avoid potential conflicts and challenges to a will or trust later on.

4. Stability and Emotional Bonding

Socially speaking, a stepparent-stepchild relationship doesn’t hold the same significance as the relationship between a biological parent and child, even if the two form a loving parent-child bond. This can create emotional challenges for everyone involved.

When you adopt your stepchild, you not only gain legal rights and responsibilities, but you make a social declaration that you value this child the same as a biological child. This can only help to create a more stable household and facilitate stronger familial bonds.

Adoption Strengthens Blended Families

There are both legal and social reasons to consider adopting a stepchild. Certain situations may require legal authority, and you want to ensure your parental rights are protected in unforeseen circumstances. Most importantly, taking this step displays your love and commitment to a stepchild, which only helps to solidify emotional bonds in your blended family.

Are you interested in adopting your stepchild in Michigan? Contact the caring and capable team at Gucciardo Family Law to get started today.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

Leave a Reply