California stepparents who are considering adopting their stepchildren should consider the pros and cons. There may be a number of reasons to do so. Ensuring that the child can inherit from the stepparent, giving the child equal status in the household and demonstrating a commitment to the child are all good reasons. Furthermore, if there is no legal adoption and the biological parent that a person is married to dies, then the stepparent may lose all access to the child.
If the biological parent of the stepchild is no longer alive, then the adoption is a fairly straightforward process. It may be more complicated if that parent is still alive. An adoption means the noncustodial parent may lose all rights to the child. The biological parent may resist this, and the stepparent might not want to put the stepchild through such a battle. Furthermore, adoption is not a cure-all for tensions in the home. In some cases, a better solution might be to seek legal guardianship since this does not sever the child's relationship with their other parent.
However, there are additional reasons that may make a stepparent decide upon adoption. If the other biological parent is abusive or neglectful, then it may be best to end the relationship by adopting the child.
Families who are considering going through the process of stepparent adoption might want to consult an attorney that they can discuss the process and the pros and cons with including whether legal guardianship would be a better option. It may be necessary for the other biological parent to be a party to the process. Depending on age, the parents may also want to invite the child to have input into the decision.