Families grow and change in a variety of ways. If you married someone who already had children from a previous relationship, you went from being a single person to a stepparent very quickly. As time moves on, your relationship with your stepchild will develop into something beautiful all on its own, even if originally they were just the child of the person you love.

Eventually, you may decide that you want to upgrade from stepparent status to that of a legal parent, which means adopting your stepchild. In Georgia, stepparents often can adopt their stepchildren, provided that they do get permission from the appropriate parties.

Both biological parents typically must approve your adoption

Obviously, you want to have your spouse in agreement with you about your idea of adopting your stepchild. There could be a number of reasons why your spouse perhaps doesn’t approve of a stepparent adoption, which is why they should be the person you discuss the issue with first.

After that, you must consider the other biological parent. Even if they don’t currently pay child support or have visitation, they may still refuse to approve your adoption. In situations where the other parent died or the state terminated their parental rights, you won’t need their approval. However, for most stepparent adoptions, non-custodial biological parents must willingly release their parental rights for you to complete the adoption.

After the approval of both parents, you should also get the approval of your stepchild. Even if they are quite young, they should have some say in the matter, as it will have a lasting impact on their family circumstances.

The Georgia family courts also want to review your adoption request

If your spouse and the other parent give their approval and the child is also enthusiastic about the prospect of a stepparent adoption, the next step in the process would be to initiate legal proceedings for the adoption itself.

Typically, Georgia wants you to be at least 25 years of age and 10 years older than the child(ren) involved. You should also be able to pass a background check and have the desire and ability to provide for the child’s needs.

If you meet these criteria and have the agreement of all the necessary parties, initiating the process of a formal stepparent adoption could help you grow your family.