Adopting by Step-Parent
The most common form of child adoption is a child being adopted by a step-parent. In a step-parent adoption the adopting step-parent becomes a legal parent to the child and assumes all parental responsibilities for his/her spouse's child.
A step-parent adoption is a legal process where the step-parent becomes the legal parent of the child. This relationship becomes permanent and cannot be reversed by a subsequent separation or divorce from the biological parent.
If you are considering adopting your step-child you need to know that you will be taking over the legal and financial responsibilities for that child from the birth parent and that the
biological parent will first have to have his or her parental rights to the child ended. Normally this requires the approval of the parent being replaced and many states will not allow a step-parent
adoption if the parent who is being "replaced" objects. However, for reason of desertion, lack of fitness, and other reasons an involuntary termination of their rights can take place.
Since once you adopt the child, the child is as much yours and as much your responsibility as if the child was yours biologically, even if something happens to end the relationship between you and the biological parent you have married, it is strongly advised that you should not have a step-parent child adoption without the advice and assistance of an attorney, optimally one who has experience in child adoption law or family law.
For additional help in a step-parent adoption read the Child Welfare Information Gateway article Step-parent Adoption. If you are looking for an attorney you may want to check the yellow pages of your local phone book under "Attorneys: family law" or visit the link adoption attorneys. You may also want to visit the link Step-Parent Adoption.