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Adopting your stepchild can be rewarding – and difficult

Your relationship with your stepchild is important. You might not be their biological parent, but that does not mean you do not have a parental bond. You know adoption paperwork does not make a family. Yet, when the adoption is official, there is extra security.

You have been providing for your child’s emotional, financial and physical wellbeing. The only thing missing is the documentation, but it can be worth your time and effort to make your relationship official.

It could prevent legal battles. An adoption protects your parental rights if your marriage to their birth parent ends.

Severing the biological parent’s legal ties

As is the case in most states, Alabama requires both biological parents to consent to the adoption and for the non-custodial parent to relinquish their parental rights. That can create problems, but it is not an issue in all stepparent adoptions.

There are exceptions, including:

  • Parent’s rights are already terminated.
  • The parent has denied their maternity/paternity in writing.
  • The biological parent is unknown/deceased.
  • The parent is legally incompetent and cannot provide consent.

Protect your family and your relationships

There is another important requirement in Alabama. Your stepchild must have lived with you for a least one year before you petition for the adoption. The child’s best interests will be the deciding factor, and all cases depend on the details.

Your bond is important both you and your stepchild. If you’ve been with a child for a long time, you have become an important part of their life. You love them. Unfortunately, that might not be enough to keep them with you if the worst happens. Adoptions can prevent problems.