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Hillside stepparent adoption lawyerMany people who get divorced often find love and happiness again in second marriages. A step-family, sometimes called a “blended” or “bonus” family, is a family in which at least one parent has children from a previous marriage or relationship. Blended families can be wonderful, especially when step-parents wish to adopt the children of their spouse as a way of making their family more “complete.” This is referred to as a related adoption, since one of the adoptive parents is related to the child who is being adopted. In fact, this is the most common form of adoption in North America. 

A step-parent who adopts his or her stepchild agrees to become that child’s legal parent and to be fully responsible for the child until the child is an adult. Once the adoption is final, the other biological parent’s name is replaced with the adopting parent’s name on the child’s birth certificate. In some cases, the child’s name may also be changed on the birth certificate.

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Hillside stepparent adoption lawyerIn the United States, a divorce is granted about once every 36 seconds, adding up to approximately 2,400 marriages ended every day. Although the divorce rate is 40% lower for families with children, nearly 50% of children born to married couples will witness the dissolution of their biological parents' marriage by the time they reach age 18. Many studies document the negative effects of divorce on children, but having two parents who stay involved with their children can minimize many of these effects. However, if one parent is willingly absent, a stepparent adoption can provide many benefits to both parents and children.

What It Means for a Stepparent to Adopt

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