John C. Lackatos, P.C.
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Can I adopt my stepchild without a biological parent's consent?

When a Pennsylvania resident gets married to someone who has children from a prior marriage or has children him or herself and is getting married to someone other than the children's biological parent, one of their primary aims in the union is to give their children stability. While raising children in a loving and supportive atmosphere is one way to do this, another way to ensure children feel like they are a valuable part of the blended family is through stepparent adoption.

As all other forms of adoption in the country, state law governs the stepparent adoption process. However, stepparent adoption is generally an easier process than other types, and might have different requirements, such as the lack of a home study. However, one thing that is necessary for an adoption to become finalized is the consent of the biological parents.

Not only does one's spouse have to agree to the stepparent adopting the child, the child's other biological parent must also agree, unless he or she has abandoned the child. Providing this consent means the noncustodial parent gives up all their rights and responsibilities towards the child, including child support. Without proper consent, an adoption can be challenged and even thrown out, which is why it is important to understand the legal term abandonment and what it entails.

Depending on the type of circumstances surrounding one's previous divorce, obtaining consent for one's current spouse to adopt their child might be difficult to obtain. While it may be possible to continue with the adoption without this consent, it is important to try to obtain it and an experienced attorney can help Pennsylvania residents going through the process understand what their legal options are and how to exercise them.

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