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If you live in a “blended” household because you’ve gotten remarried, the specific natural of the legal relationships in your new family can take several forms.
Natural parents and stepparents have distinct rights, if not roles, under the law. If the blending process proceeds on a positive course and something happens to the children’s other natural parent, perhaps a death or a lengthy estrangement, the natural parent may wish to formalize a legal relationship with the new spouse to provide a sense of belonging to the stepchild.
In such cases, the natural parent and the new spouse will want to file a stepparent adoption. These cases can proceed in a straightforward manner, as when the other natural parent has passed away, or can become rather heated, particularly if the other natural parent opposes the adoption.
Because stepparent adoption is a complex process that can be fraught with problems, a parent seeking to adopt a stepchild should consult with legal counsel and receive guidance on whether and how to make such an adoption a reality.