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How do you adopt your step-children?

Deciding to adopt your step-children is a big step in creating a family. Making the choice to make your children legally your own is exciting and worthwhile. However, the process can be a little complicated. It may be important for you to educate yourself about the procedure of step-parent adoption so you know how to prepare.

General outline of the process

Though each case of adoption is different there is still a general process that most cases follow. These are a few of the steps that you will most likely have to go through during your adoption case.

  1. Discuss with your family – having a formal discussion with your family about adopting your step-children is a good way to start the process, this way your whole family is on the same page and will know what is happening.
  2. Gather documents – there are a variety of documents you will need to have on hand for the adoption process. You will need to have the children’s birth certificates, marriage certificates and divorce documents.
  3. Contact an attorney – having a professional to guide you through the adoption procedure is important. Though legal representation is not required, it will help you figure out the best way to proceed.
  4. Complete the paperwork – you will need to file an official adoption petition with a court in order to legalize the adoption. This means filling out various paperwork and paying the fees.
  5. Seek permission – if your children’s other parent is still alive, you will need to seek official permission from them to adopt their children. This may require a little strategy and persuasion, if they are not open to this decision.
  6. Finalize – the final steps in the process include appearing in court, completing a home study and changing your step-child’s birth certificate. However, these steps can vary more, depending on your situation. Sometimes a judge will waive a home study. Sometimes you need to appear in court more than once.

Adopting your step-children can be a great idea, though the process is somewhat involved. Knowing what is to come can help you navigate the situation more successfully.

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