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Step-Parent Adoption

A "step-parent adoption" is an informal term which refers to a particular kind of adoption. In a step-parent adoption, one of a child's biological parents later gets married, and the new husband or wife then seeks to adopt the child. Typically, the natural parent, step-parent and child will already have lived together and functioned as a family for practical purposes for a period of time prior to the formal request being made to legally recognize the relationships which have developed in fact.

In order to proceed with a step-parent adoption, two separate legal cases are filed. One requests termination of the relatively uninvolved biological parent, and the second requests an order for adoption by the step-parent. Although termination of a person's parental rights can occur involuntarily, much more commonly the biological parent provides his or her consent for that as part of step-parent adoption.