Stepparent Adoption in New York | What to Know

Stepparent Adoption in New York | What to Know

man walking with child

Many couples get divorced and later remarry. This means that stepparents, stepsiblings, and stepchildren may enter the mix. Sometimes, a stepparent will want to adopt his or her stepchild. Read on for more information regarding stepparent adoptions in New York.

Reasons for Stepparent Adoption

There are a number of reasons a stepparent may want to adopt his or her stepchild. One of the main reasons is because stepparents have few to no rights when it comes to their stepchildren. Adopting your stepchild will give you the same rights as a biological parent. This means that you will be able to make important decisions about the child’s life, involving things like healthcare, education, and religion. Another reason a stepparent may choose to adopt his stepchild is that the child’s biological parent is incarcerated or institutionalized. But, it is important to note that in cases like this, a court tends to prefer a blood relative be the child’s guardian.

What are the Requirements?

If you are considering adopting your stepchild, you will have to meet a few requirements. These requirements include:

  • Both biological/ legal parents of the child must consent to the adoption unless the court finds that the other parent’s consent is not legally required. This will depend on many factors, such as whether the non-custodial parent is named on the child’s birth certificate and the extent to which he or she has taken physical, emotional and financial responsibility for the child. For the most part, a New York court will only terminate parental rights if evidence of neglect or abuse is found.
  • A child over 14 years old must consent to the stepparent adoption and be present at the adoption hearing.

What is the Process of Stepparent Adoption?

If the above requirements are met and you are able to adopt your stepchild, you will have to go through an adoption process. The adoption process will likely involve a background check. You will need to be fingerprinted and cleared through the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Additionally, there will be an adoption hearing. When the adoption is complete, the law views the stepparent as the biological and legal parent of the stepchild, with the same parental rights and obligations of any biological parent.

If you or a loved one is interested in stepparent adoption, contact our firm to speak with a skilled family law attorney.

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