When you fall in love with someone who has children from a previous relationship, their kids become part of your family when you decide to make a commitment. Your stepchildren will likely play a major role in your relationship and become important people in your life in their own ways.
The longer you have been stepparent to the children in your family and the closer your bond becomes, the more compelled you may feel to consider stepparent adoption. By adopting your stepchildren, you legally step into the role once held by the other biological parent. There are some really excellent reasons for stepparents to make their relationship with their stepchildren formal.
Stepparent adoption protects your rights if you get divorced
If you want to adopt the children of your spouse, you likely have a good relationship with both your partner and your children. However, that could change quickly due to issues ranging from infidelity to health problems. In the event that your marriage fails, you could find yourself in a difficult position regarding your relationship with your stepchildren.
If you have not legally adopted your stepchildren when you divorce, it is unlikely that the California family courts will give you visitation or access to them. Formally adopting them means you get to continue playing a role in their life no matter what happens between you and their parent.
Adoption can open up benefits for both you and your stepchildren
Whether you have incredible health insurance through your employer that you think would benefit the children or you would just like the tax write-off that comes from getting to claim them as dependents, there are financial and practical benefits associated with a stepparent adoption.
While financial concerns should never be the primary factor in major family decisions, acknowledging potential financial benefits can help you make a more informed decision or convince your spouse to support your adoption.
Adopting your stepchildren can help them feel loved and supported
Whether their other biological parent died or chose to abandon the children, if they don’t have a relationship with both of their parents, that can affect their social and emotional development. While you can do a lot as a stepparent, adoption can lead to a more secure bond.
Stepping up into the role of an adoptive stepparent can give your stepchildren a better sense of family and let them know that they have the love and support of both you and your spouse.