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?