What is a Stepparent Adoption?

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Stepparents often play a critical and loving part in their stepchildren’s lives.  Sometimes, they even adopt their stepchildren via “stepparent adoption.”

To learn more about what is a stepparent adoption, read on.

What’s the Impact of an Adoption?

In terms of the legal system, the impact of adoption is that the adopted child becomes, for all legal purposes and without exception, the legal child of the adoptive parent.  In other words, an adoptive parent is a parent — with full legal rights to and responsibilities for their child.

What’s a Stepparent Adoption?

In Connecticut, “stepparent adoption” refers to the legal process a parent’s spouse adopts a child.  In other words, one spouse in a married couple is already a child’s legal parent (via biology or adoption) and seeks to have their spouse become the child’s legal parent too.

There are three general circumstances when this typically occurs:

  • A child’s other parent has passed away.
  • The original other parent’s rights have been terminated.
  • A child is born to a married couple via assisted reproductive technology; only one spouse is a biological parent.

Can a Child Have More Than Two Legal Parents in Connecticut?

No, not in Connecticut.  Children can only have two legal parents.  In a stepparent adoption, the child begins with one legal parent, and that parent seeks to add their spouse as the second legal parent.

Who is Eligible for a Stepparent Adoption?

In other words, in a stepparent adoption, the adoptive parent must be married to the child’s legal parent.  And the child can’t have another legal parent.

What’s the Difference Between a Co-Parent Adoption and a Stepparent Adoption?

Generally speaking, the main difference is that in a co-parent adoption (also called a “second parent” adoption), the adoptive parent does not need to be married to the child’s legal parent.

If We Are Married, Why Do I Have to Adopt My Non-Biological Child We Had Together?

Connecticut law presumes that when a child is born or adopted into a marriage, both spouses have parental rights over that child.  However, that presumption does not exist in all states and is rebuttable in Connecticut.  An adoption, on the other hand, is binding in other states.

What’s the Different Between a Stepparent Adoption and a “Traditional” Adoption Where Both Parents Are Adopting?

Only one parent adopts in a “stepparent” adoption.  By contrast, in a so-called “traditional” adoption, both parents are adopting.  In addition, a traditional adoption requires the involvement of DCF and/or an adoption agency, and a home study.

Does a Stepparent Adoption Require a Home Study?

On behalf of our stepparent adoption clients, Freed Marcroft’s adoption attorneys move the Court to waive the home study.  When we decide to work together, your lawyer will explain the ins and outs of your particular situation.

Find An Adoption Attorney

At Freed Marcroft, we are always excited to hear from couples looking to adopt.  If you want to add a new addition to your family, ensure you get dependable legal guidance from our team.  Contact us to start your family on a solid legal foundation.

Freed Marcroft’s family law attorneys know that family law matters aren’t just legal issues — they are also emotional processes.  We guide select clients through the legal aspects of their family law situation while remaining mindful of their overall wellness.

To discuss our helping with your situation, contact us today here.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC