Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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How does stepparent adoption work?

With divorce rates being relatively high in Massachusetts and the United States in general, blended families resulting from remarriage are becoming the new norm. Being a stepparent is not always the easiest of things. It takes time to build a relationship with one's stepchildren and not having any legal claim to those children can make certain situations complicated -- such as when dealing with a medical emergency or handling problems that may arise at school, among a number of other issues that commonly come up when raising kids. Stepparent adoption can help bring a blended family closer together and give stepparents the legal rights they need to manage problems that come up with their spouses' children.

How does stepparent adoption work? It can either be a relatively easy process or it can get quite complicated. It all depends on the noncustodial parent's feelings on the matter. If there are no objections, the adoption process can be completed fairly quickly. If the other parent does object to the adoption request, finalizing an adoption can be difficult.

The process of adopting one's stepchildren is a bit different than the traditional adoption process. It generally does not require home visits or the completion of some other court requirements. One need only submit the appropriate legal petition and attend any ordered court hearings. The number of hearings required in one's case will depend on whether consent is achieved from the children's birth parent.

Stepparent adoption can be a complicated matter and it is certainly something one should not approach without the right legal support. In the end, it is all about what is best for the affected children. If this is something one feels would be of benefit to his or her blended family, an experienced Massachusetts-based family law attorney will be able to help one through this process as swiftly as possible.

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