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When can a stepparent adopt their stepchild?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2020 | Family Law

Blended families are a good example of how life moves forward after separations and divorce. When a Virginia resident has a child with a partner and then chooses to end their relationship with their co-parent, they may later find themselves in a position to enter a new marriage with a new spouse. That new partner will become their child’s stepparent and may live together with the child in a home shared by the child’s biological parent and the stepparent’s new spouse.

Stepparents and stepchildren can have fruitful, positive relationships, but some stepparents wish to formalize the connections between themselves and their spouses’ children. When possible and wanted, stepparents can choose to adopt their stepchildren and make them legal heirs to their estates.

The stepparent adoption process is relatively straightforward, but with all legal matters, it is important that individuals seek their own legal counsel from attorneys who work in the family law field. In order for a stepparent to adopt their stepchild, the legal relationship between the child and their other biological or adoptive parent must be severed.

Ending a parent-child relationship requires certain events or actions to occur. One way that it may end is through the death of a biological parent. If a child’s biological parent is living, then that parent can choose to release their parental rights in order to facilitate the adoption of the child by their co-parent’s spouse. If a child’s presumptive father denies paternity over the child, the child may be adopted by their stepparent.

Not all families choose to pursue adoption between stepparents and stepchildren, and it is not always possible for this legal relationship to be forged if a biological parent chooses not to relinquish their rights. This post does not give any legal advice to its readers and all individuals with questions about stepparent adoption can talk to attorneys about their cases.