If you are recently married or planning to be married, you may have questions about your new, blended family: Can my husband adopt my child? How can I adopt my wife’s child? What is required to adopt a spouse’s child?
Claiborne|Fox|Bradley has the answers to these questions and more. Here, learn how to adopt a stepchild in Georgia or North Carolina, and discover the legal services we can offer to help.
What is stepparent adoption?
Stepparent adoption is the process of becoming a legal parent for your spouse’s child. By adopting a stepchild, the stepparent’s relationship with the child becomes legally equal to the relationship between the child and his or her biological parent.
Many stepparents wish to legalize the parent-child relationship they have developed with their stepchild. This type of adoption provides the entire family with many important rights and benefits, including:
- The child may receive healthcare insurance through the stepparent’s employer
- The child may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from a stepparent’s work-related injury
- The child may qualify for Social Security benefits from a stepparent’s disability
- If the biological parent and stepparent separate, the child may be entitled to support from the adoptive stepparent, and the court may order custody or visitation between the child and stepparent
- If the child becomes sick, a stepparent can consent to medical treatment and is entitled to the benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act, such as taking leave to care for the child
- The stepparent’s name can be placed on the child’s birth certificate alone with the original legal parent’s name
- Without a stepparent adoption, if the child’s biological parent dies or becomes incapacitated, the child could be removed from the non-biological parent’s care and be placed with relatives or a foster family
When a stepparent completes the legal adoption process, he or she becomes the child’s legal parent and has all the same parental rights and responsibilities as his or her spouse.
How can my spouse adopt my child?
Whether you are considering stepparent adoption in Atlanta, Savannah, Charlotte, or anywhere else in Georgia or North Carolina, the attorneys of Claiborne|Fox|Bradley can guide you through the entire legal process of how to adopt a stepchild. Our team of highly experienced adoption attorneys will provide all of the services you need during the stepparent adoption process, including:
- Filing the necessary legal paperwork with the court
- Obtaining consents or terminating the parental rights of the child’s noncustodial biological parent, if he or she has not already surrendered those rights
- Finalizing the adoption based on state requirements; for stepparent adoption in Georgia, this includes an appearance at a final court hearing, while stepparent adoption in North Carolina requires an administrative paperwork process
- Negotiating a post-adoption contact agreement with the child’s other biological parent, if desired
- Obtaining a new birth certificate and social security number for the child
- Providing general legal counsel and oversight throughout the adoption process
Stepparent adoption is one of the most simple and cost-effective ways to legally protect your blended family. In addition, adopting a stepchild can be a powerful way to provide your child with a sense of permanence, stability and belonging.
Whether you are adopting a stepchild in Savannah, Atlanta, Charlotte, or anywhere in between, we can provide the Georgia and North Carolina stepparent adoption services you need. If you are interested in establishing a legal parent-child relationship with your stepchild, contact Claiborne|Fox|Bradley today to schedule a consultation.