If you live in Florida and are part of a blended family, you may have children in your home whom you love and support, even though they may not be biologically yours. While you do not necessarily need a piece of paper that says you are, in fact, a child’s parent to cement your bond, you may find that there are some clear benefits that come with legally adopting your stepson or stepdaughter.
More specifically, once you adopt your stepson or stepdaughter and become his or her legal parent, the child may benefit in the following areas:
How children can benefit from stepparent adoptions
Once you legally adopt your Florida stepchild, he or she becomes eligible for your insurance benefits, and you can also designate the child as beneficiary when creating your will and estate plan. Your stepchild may also benefit emotionally after you adopt him or her, and particularly if there are other children in the home who are already legally or biologically yours. As an adoptive parent, you, too, can enjoy some perks. For example, adopting your stepchild gives you the opportunity to list this person as one of your dependents when it comes time to file taxes.
The stepparent adoption process
If you are looking to adopt a stepchild and the child’s biological parents were once married, you must typically secure consent from both parents before proceeding with the stepparent adoption. There is an exception to this, however. If the child’s other parent is missing, dead or incapacitated, you may be able to avoid this step.
If your stepchild’s biological parents were not married, whether you need to get the other parent’s consent will vary based on whether that other parent maintains an active role in the child’s life and supports that child financially or otherwise. If the other parent is not an active participant in the child’s life, he or she may receive notification about your plans to adopt, but you may not need to formally secure consent before proceeding with the stepparent adoption.
Stepparent adoption is becoming increasingly common, given today’s high percentage of blended families, and it can benefit both parent and child.