Family Law

Stepchild Adoption Checklist

When you're starting into the process of adopting a stepchild, there are lots of things to think about and decisions to make. Here's a checklist of some of the steps to take and things you'll want to discuss with your attorney:

  • If you're adopting a stepchild, you must have the other biological parent's written consent to the adoption or go through a complicated process to terminate the biological parent's rights.
  • Find out whether the biological parent will no longer be responsible for paying child support for the child after the adoption. If so, this may affect your decision to adopt.
  • If you're adopting an older stepchild, talk it over carefully with the child and make sure you have the child's consent.
  • If you're adopting a stepchild, find out whether state law or local court customs require you to have been married to the biological parent of the child for a minimum period of time.
  • Come to an agreement on attorney's fees early in the process, and get the agreement in writing. Be clear about the exact hourly rate your attorney is charging you.
  • Sign up for a home study as soon as you find out you'll need one, as there's often a waiting list.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Do I need to have the biological father sign off on me adopting his child?
  • How long does the adoption process take?
  • Can I adopt more than one child at the same time?

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