Blended families make up a large percentage of households around the country, and here in Florida many are deciding whether to make legal the step-parent relationship they share with their non-biological children. Formalizing the relationship in the Florida family courts is a big step and one that should be evaluated based on each family’s situation.
Here are some factors to consider as you evaluate the benefits and potential challenges of pursuing a second-parent adoption:
One of the biggest reasons many families choose to pursue a step-parent adoption is to make legal the child-rearing responsibilities that the step-parent likely already provides, including supporting them both emotionally and financially.
After a court-approved adoption, the step-parent has the ability to make decisions on behalf of the step-child in regards to important matters such as their health, education, and other important life issues. If the biological parent were to pass away, your step-parental rights remain intact.
Additionally, if the step-parent and spouse were to divorce, the step-parent would continue to have same parental rights as the biological parent would regarding time-sharing and parenting responsibilities.
Legally committing to your step-child by adopting them means you are making that commitment for life. If you and your spouse were to divorce, the same parental rights would apply to you, as noted above. This also includes financial obligations like child support, educational support, and other financial support. There may also be an emotional impact on the child if they see their parents separating.
The choice to adopt a step-child is a life-changing one. For the well-being of everyone involved – especially the children – it’s important to take your time and understand its potential impact on your family.
For help understanding the legal process of step-parent adoptions in Florida or for specific questions about your family’s situation, please get in touch with our team at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group.