Stepparent Adoption

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The most common form of adoption is by a stepparent who assumes financial and legal responsibility for his/her spouse’s child(ren), and the non-custodial parent is released from all parenting responsibilities. Procedures are generally simpler than for other types of adoption, however, stepparent adoption law varies from state to state. State stepparent adoption laws address issues such as consents from the non-custodial parent, how long the stepparent and biological parent must be married before an adoption petition can be filed, whether or not a homestudy is required, and other requirements.

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An Excellent Resource is pleased to offer the #1 guide to help you make your stepchild a permanent part of your loving family.

Stepparent Adoption (e-book)

Stepparent Adoption (print)

Adoption e-Book

"Stepparent Adoption: A Resource Book," written by noted adoption author and researcher Tim O'Hanlon, Ph.D., provides comprehensive laws and formalities for all states, explores emotional issues for families and children, and includes in-depth information about laws and legal issues relating to consent from the non-custodial parent, second-parent adoption, and grandparent visitation.

If you are considering adopting your stepchild, this book is the best place to start and can help significantly to simplify the stepchild adoption process for you.


  1. The process may result in a change of the child's surname. Be sure to get several copies of the finalization document to provide to schools, agencies, and the government (tax forms, Social Security card, etc.) to prove the name change.
  2. If you do not use an attorney, legal guidance may be available from a paralegal with experience in stepparent adoptions. Check your local resources.
  3. Remember that stepparent adoption not only severs the legal relationship with one biological parent but also with members of that parent's family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Grandparent visitation is a consideration for stepfamily adoptions.

additional resources

starting stepparent adoption
stepparent adoption resources
state adoption laws

stepparent forums

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stepparent adoption support
stepparent adoption support by state
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Credits: Nancy S. Ashe

Visitor Comments (5)
Adding your comments contributes to the adoption community. Please keep all comments on topic and civil. Visitors are invited to comment and vote for or flag comments based on appropriateness and helpfulness. All comments must adhere to our commenting rules and are subject to moderation.
Guest - 4 years ago
0 2 4
I adopted my stepdaughter, now my husband and I are having issues. Can anyone tell me what my rights are? #1
Guest - 4 years ago
0 0 0
my aunt's husband is Japanese, they already processed my cousin adoption in japan, what will we do next in order for us to have all my cousin's documents here in the Philippines be changed to his step dads surname? cousin is born here in the Philippines but their all in japan now. #2
Child #1 - 1 month ago
My mother has married another man and I would like my stepdad to adopt me, do I need permission from my real father or may we go ahead without permission? #3
sharing - 4 years ago
1 1 1
I am a single mother of a three three year old. There has never been a father and i would like my female partner to adopt him. How would i go about that. We have been together since the day i gave birth. She has been a wonderful mother. I just don't know where to start.... #4
brian - 4 years ago
3 4 1
My two children were adopted by their step father and he is suppost to take all parental rights but they still have have me paying child support I guess he want to be their father but does not want to suppot them he is a total dead beat #5

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