A stepparent adoption allows someone who already has a positive relationship with a minor child to become a legal parent to that child, with all the rights and responsibilities that commitment entails.
Under Florida law, stepparents do have the right to adopt their stepchildren. However, they will need to secure four different kinds of permission before the adoption will be official.
Permission from the spouse
As a stepparent, you love your spouse and their children. You can think of no better expression of your commitment to your new, blended family than the legal adoption of your spouse’s children as your own. However, before you unilaterally decide that would be best for your family, it’s important to talk to your spouse first. They may receive benefits that would end after an adoption or have other reasons to object, such as religious concerns.
Permission from the other parent
If the other biological or legal parent of the children is still alive, you can’t adopt while they still have parental rights. You can adopt when a biological parent dies or if the state has already terminated their parental rights. Even if they are incarcerated or completely uninvolved with the children, they will still have to voluntarily terminate their parental rights and approve of the adoption for you to proceed.
Permission from the child
Whatever their age, the children involved in this big, family-changing decision should have a say. They could have personal reasons to object to the adoption, and it’s important to respect their wishes about such an important choice.
Permission from the courts
In addition to all of the important family members, you also need permission from the courts. They need to look at the family circumstances and your background to make a determination that they believe is in the best interest of the children.
Provided that you can get all four forms of permission, stepparent adoption could help strengthen your new family.