You don’t need to be biologically related to your child to be their parent. Step parent adoption allows your relationship with your child to be legally recognised, cementing your bond and bringing you both many benefits.
It is very common nowadays for people to separate, get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution and later get remarried, bringing children from the previous relationship. In many families, the step parent takes on the full responsibility of raising their partner’s child and in turn, the child may recognise their step parent as their true parent.
However, as a step parent, you do not have the same legal rights and responsibilities as your partner or the child’s other legal parent (if they have one). This can have many implications, including:
- You do not automatically have parental responsibility (the rights and responsibilities to raise the child)
- If you pass away without making a Will, your child cannot automatically inherit (and vice versa)
- If you and your partner break up, you will have no automatic rights to see the child or contribute to decisions about their upbringing
We understand that being recognised as your step child’s parent will also be important to you on an emotional level. You may feel like your family will be complete once your bond with your step child is officially secured.
We can provide clear, practical advice about adopting your stepchild, including the legal benefits and implications of obtaining an Adoption Order and whether there are any alternative options to explore. Our family law team are highly skilled at approaching stepchild adoption matters in a sympathetic but pragmatic way. We take a child-centred approach at all times to ensure that every outcome is in the best interests of your family as a whole. We can also assist in contentious matters, for example, where the child has a legal parent whose rights would be extinguished by your Adoption Order.
Our team are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation which signifies our ability to handle particularly complex matters such as stepchild adoption matters involving international elements. Our family lawyers are also members of Resolution and can provide advice about Alternative Dispute Resolution methods such as collaborative law and mediation which can be helpful at resolving any disagreements that arise throughout the adoption process.