When a parent marries a new partner with no biological relationship to their children, that individual becomes a stepparent. Being a stepparent is a beautiful thing. You get to play an important role in the development of the children in your life. You can provide them with stability, financial resources, guidance and love.
Those are the same exact things that biological parents provide to children. The only difference is that you choose to do it selflessly for someone who does not have a direct genetic relationship to you. Over time, you may develop a close bond with your stepchildren. If you feel like you want to provide them with the security that comes from a legal relationship, you may want to consider stepparent adoption.
Talk to your spouse and the children in the family first
The balance within the blended family is often delicate. What comes from a place of love could be misinterpreted by your biological children or even by your stepchildren as something other than a desire to validate and officialize your relationship.
Since adoption means officially becoming someone’s parent, there can be emotional consequences for you, your spouse and all the kids in the family. Talking with everyone individually is the best way to make sure that people feel free to speak their minds and to ensure that moving forward with an adoption won’t disrupt the harmony in your home.
You may need permission from the biological parent
If the biological parent of your stepchildren has died, then the adoption is between you, your spouse and the kids. However, if the biological parent of your stepchildren is still alive, even if they don’t play a role in their lives, you will need their permission to adopt.
In most cases, the biological parent will need to give up their parental rights before the adoption can take place. Some people are reticent to sign off on the rights to their children because they don’t want to cause emotional damage. Others may be happy to do so because it ends their child support obligations.
If you divorce, you still have a duty to the kids
One important consideration about stepchild adoption is that once you become the legal parent of your stepchildren, you cannot change your mind. If you eventually divorce their parent, you will still have a legal and financial obligation to those children. That means that you will have the right to seek shared custody and you may have to pay child support as well.
Considering all of these factors can help you make a more informed decision about a potential adoption as a stepparent. There are also many legal concerns, including hearings and paperwork, to consider. Sitting down to talk with an attorney who is familiar with the Colorado stepparent adoption process can also be a good decision.