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Adopting your stepchild in New York

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2023 | Family Law |

A stepparent in New York may decide to make it official and adopt their stepchild. It’s when a stepparent becomes a legal parent of their spouse’s child. Taking this step gives a stepparent certain legal rights concerning their stepchild.

Do you want to adopt your stepchild? If so, it helps to learn a bit about family law and how stepparent adoption works. Here’s some information to get you started.

Stepparent adoption of a stepchild

Adopting a stepchild is similar to adopting any other child. You’ll need to pass a background check, have the consent of the birth parent and complete the legal adoption process. However, this process is often quicker than a non-stepchild adoption. There are also several other differences.

In New York, any child 14 years or older has to consent to the stepparent adoption. The child will give their consent or refusal in a court hearing. A stepparent can also possibly skip the home study part of the process. But if it’s required, it takes less time than with a non-stepchild adoption.

Birth parent consent

New York requires the parent who isn’t your spouse to give up their parental rights. But if the parent refuses, you can’t adopt the child. There are exceptions to this rule if the parent is abusive or has deserted the child. In this case, New York can terminate parental rights.

Benefits of adopting a stepchild

You’re already part of your stepchild’s life. But formal adoption has its benefits. Most importantly, adoption provides your family and stepchild with stability. There are also financial benefits. For example, your stepchild can receive insurance benefits and other benefits a biological child would receive.

Learning more about adopting a stepchild

Adopting a stepchild is a big step. You and your family will have several things to consider. But adoption is one way to possibly solidify your relationship with your stepchild.