Becoming a stepparent is a tough job. This is especially true if the child’s other parent is not a strong presence in his or her life. For example, if you marry the child’s mother and the child’s father is not in the child’s life, you become the father figure. However, you really do not have any rights to the child like a father does. This is unless you look into stepparent adoption.

A stepparent adoption is when you adopt your stepchild and become the legal father of him or her. According to the Florida Courts, to adopt a child, you need the consent of the mother and of the legal father. The legal father must agree to the adoption and give up his parental rights to the child. This is essential since the law only recognizes two legal parents per child.

You will have to go to court for the adoption, but it is much less expensive and time-consuming than other types of adoption. As long as you get consent, the courts generally will approve the adoption swiftly. The process can even allow your stepchild to take your last name, which is a process included in the adoption process.

Adopting your stepchild gives you all the legal rights of a father. It can allow your family to move forward in a fresh new way without having the biological father and the issues stemming from that tense situation hanging over you. This information is for education only. It is not legal advice.