If you married someone who already had a child and their ex-spouse is no longer in the picture, something you might consider doing is adopting their child as your own. This can be an excellent way to give your stepchild a stable home and to make sure that you have the legal right to be their parent and guardian in the case that your spouse passes away or is incapacitated.
If you would like to adopt your stepchild, you will need to show that the other parent is no longer paying child support or does not see the child. If they have given up their parental rights, agree to give up their rights or a judge agrees to revoke those rights, then you may be able to adopt your stepchild.
Does your stepchild need to give permission to be adopted?
One thing that you should keep in mind is that it is typical for the court to ask that you get permission from a child before you can adopt them. You will also need the permission of your spouse, and, in some cases, the other parent.
South Carolina generally requires you to get the permission of your stepchild to go through with an adoption if they are 14 or older. You will also need their parents’ consent. If your spouse agrees and the other parent has lost their parental rights or agrees to terminate their parental rights, then you may be able to move forward.
Generally speaking, it’s the other biological parent that tends to be the issue in this kind of adoption. You will need to be sure that their parental rights have been terminated before you can move forward. They may not give permission in some cases, or you may need to go to court to ask a judge to declare them unfit to parent. This can make your case take longer and may make it more complicated.
These are a few things to think about as you decide if you’d like to adopt your stepchild. Adopting your stepchild can be a wonderful gift, but there is a significant legal process involved.