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Mistakes people make with stepparent adoption

Stepparent adoption can be a great move in many cases. It legalizes the relationship between a parent and a child, and legalization can be especially critical when it comes to estate planning and determining heirs. It also ensures that the child is in good hands should something happen to the other parent.

However, some people pursue this type of adoption for the wrong reasons and/or make mistakes afterward. Here is a look at two situations where stepparent adoption possibly should be delayed or not done.

Cutting out a legal parent who does not want to be out of the picture

Say that Andrew divorces Brenda and marries Crystal. Andrew is very much in love and wants Crystal to adopt his children. Brenda is not as involved in the children's lives as Andrew thinks she should be, so what is the harm?

The harm is that Brenda is still involved and wants to be, and the children want her to be. If Andrew tries to force the issue, his children could end up resenting Crystal for apparently coming between them and their mother.

It is important to remember that, even if children do not realize it yet, it is in their best interests to have both of their parents involved in their lives. If someone is considering cutting out an involved parent just because of a new spouse, it could make for a risky situation. 

Not treating the parent as a parent

So, suppose the right reasons for doing a stepparent adoption are present. Jason adopted his wife's children five years ago, but she has never really treated him as an equal parent. Furthermore, they are getting divorced, and she is trying to use the facts that he is not their biological father and has known them for less time to fight for full custody.

That is usually a mistake and not in the children's best interests. If someone is unsure whether he or she can treat the spouse as a full and equal parent, including giving children access to that parent even if a divorce occurs, then it is a good idea to think twice about adoption.

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