When you’re starting into the process of adopting a stepchild, there are lots of things to think about and decisions to make. Here’s a checklist of some of the steps to take and things you’ll want to discuss with your attorney:
If you’re adopting a stepchild, you must have the other biological parent’s written consent to the adoption or go through a complicated process to terminate the biological parent’s rights.
Find out whether the biological parent will no longer be responsible for paying child support for the child after the adoption. If so, this may affect your decision to adopt.
If you’re adopting an older stepchild, talk it over carefully with the child and make sure you have the child’s consent.
If you’re adopting a stepchild, find out whether state law or local court customs require you to have been married to the biological parent of the child for a minimum period of time.
Come to an agreement on attorney’s fees early in the process, and get the agreement in writing. Be clear about the exact hourly rate your attorney is charging you.