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Reasons for Stepparent Adoption

As a stepparent, you may be fulfilling many—if not all—parental duties in regards to your stepchild. However, simply loving them as your own does not instill a legal relationship. Your rights when it comes to your stepchild’s future are entirely dependent on their legal parent(s) consenting to a relationship. In fact, more distant relatives of your stepchild have stronger rights to custody than you.

Legally adopting your stepchild ensures they will have a sense of security in the event their legal parent can no longer care for them. Your legally adopted stepchild will also grant them the right to inherit from you (even without a provision in your will). Most importantly, permanently adopting your stepchild will seal the familial bond you’ve created.

Stepparent Adoption Requirements

If you are a stepparent hoping to adopt your spouse's child, our New York adoption lawyers are prepared to help guide you through the process swiftly and successfully. Stepparent adoptions ensure that an adoptive stepparent will have the same rights and responsibilities as the birth parent. There are specific requirements that must be fulfilled prior to beginning a stepparent adoption.

Parental Consent

If a child's birth parent is still living and is no longer involved in the child's life, then they must consent to the proposed stepparent adoption. Once the stepparent adoption is completed, the parent giving up custody of the child is then released from all legal and financial obligations to that child.

One of the most important hurdles you might have to face during a stepparent adoption is obtaining the consent of the non-involved parent who has shown little interest in the child and, in some cases, may be difficult to locate. In the event that the other biological parent does not relinquish their rights, there is an alternative option. The court must find that the consent of the other biological parent is not required because that person does not have a legally recognized relationship with the child.



Our New York adoption attorneys have the legal skills and dedication needed to tackle these and other complications should they arise, and we are fully prepared to support you through the entirety of your adoption process. If your stepchild is over the age of 18, the case would be considered an adult adoption, and their legal parent’s consent would not be required.

Child Consent

If your stepchild is older than 14 years of age, he or she must consent to the adoption.

Custody in the Event of Divorce

If you and your adopted stepchild’s biological parent choose to divorce, you may wonder what your rights entail. It’s important to establish your rights during the adoption process. Working with a knowledgeable adoption attorney from the beginning will make the transition process smoother on both you and your stepchild.

Over Four Decades of Experience on Your Side

Stepparent adoptions typically involve an overwhelming amount of paperwork. A team of skilled attorneys can walk you through the legal documents necessary to adopt your stepchild. At Greenberg & Greenberg, we have provided our experienced legal assistance and sincere support to more than 6,000 families and have worked on numerous stepparent adoption cases. We know that families are looking to legalize a parent-child relationship that already exists, and we work tirelessly to facilitate this process and ensure that it is completed in a timely manner.


For more information on the ways in which you can pursue your stepparent adoption, contact Greenberg & Greenberg to speak with an experienced and caring New York adoption lawyer. We’ve been counseling families in the area of adoption since 1986. Get the guidance you and your loved ones deserve by scheduling a consultation today.