You love your stepchildren, and you’ve always wanted to be guaranteed to remain in their lives. You know that if your spouse passes away, you won’t necessarily be the parent to keep them in your custody. Similarly, if your parental rights aren’t guaranteed through adoption, you may not be able to see them if you ever end up being divorced.

Completing a stepparent adoption isn’t simple, because there are several steps that have to be taken before one will be allowed. Some of those steps include:

  • Obtaining parental consent from both biological parents, if they both have parental rights. To be able to complete the adoption, the noncustodial parent must be willing to give up their parental rights or have them taken by the court.
  • Filing a petition to adopt. You will need to submit a petition requesting to adopt your stepchildren. Pennsylvania does not require a home visit in stepparent adoptions.
  • Going to a preliminary hearing. If your stepchild/children are over 12, then they may need to give consent to the adoption.
  • Going to the finalization hearing to finalize the adoption. The judge signs the adoption certificate at this hearing.
  • Getting a new birth certificate for your child. At this time, it’s possible to change your child’s last name if you wish to do so.

Adopting a stepchild can be an amazing opportunity to feel a stronger part of their life and to give them the stability that they need. Your attorney can help you file for adoption whether you have one or many stepchildren that you’d like to adopt. Though there are many steps, it’s possible to move forward toward an adoption and to take action.