Blended families are common in Pennsylvania, with many people who have children from a previous marriage finding love again later on and marrying someone with no biological connection to their kids. The longer you are with a partner who has children from a previous relationship, the stronger your bond with the children will likely become.

Eventually, you may find yourself wondering if it isn’t time to adopt your stepchildren and become their actual parent. Doing so may require some effort, as your family circumstances must meet certain criteria in order for you to complete a stepparent adoption in Pennsylvania.

The other parents must give up their rights for you to assume them

If the other biological parent of your spouse’s children has died, their parental rights ended with their life. When there isn’t another parent to hold rights, stepparent adoption is more straightforward than in cases where the other biological parent is still alive.

Even if your spouse has full custody, the other parent still has legal rights. In some cases, if the state terminates a parent’s rights for abuse or neglect, that can open the door to a stepparent adoption. Otherwise, you may need to go to the other parent and ask them to rescind their claim to parental rights. In some cases, they may be willing to do so, as ending their parental rights can also end their obligation to pay child support.

Additionally, you will want to secure the permission of your spouse and your stepchild as well. Having a conversation about your intention before you attempt to file any paperwork is important, as there could be other reasons, like military benefits, that could cause complications during your stepparent adoption.