A wedding signifies the beginning of a new era for a married couple. No marriage is without its ups and downs, but when there are children involved from previous relationships, the new era can be marred with difficulties. One way parents can help ease their children’s transition is by providing them with the stability they need to flourish. A stepparent adoption is one way to achieve this.

When a parent adopts their spouse’s children, it gives the child a sense of security and belonging. As their legal parent, the stepparent becomes responsible both emotionally and financially for the child. Pennsylvania residents looking to adopt their stepchildren may want to consult an experienced attorney for guidance on how to proceed, as the law varies from state to state.

One element of adoption that does remain the same, however, is that it requires the consent of both biological parents of the child. The noncustodial parent’s consent to the adoption means they have given up any rights or responsibilities owed to the children, including, but not limited to, child support. While some situations, such as abandonment, do not require consent, it is important to take every step possible to receive consent.

Although consent is an essential part of stepparent adoptions, it is not the only element required. There are a number of documents that must be filed, preliminary and follow-up court hearings and even periodic visits by social workers. Adopting a stepchild is a significant step that an individual can take and it is important to understand the procedure and the effect of doing so.