Congratulations on your recent nuptials to your best friend. You’ve gained a companion for life, plus one. When you said “I do,” it wasn’t only to your spouse but also to his or her child. To make your union official with them as well, you’d like to file for a stepparent adoption in the great state of Mississippi. But where do you start?

About Mississippi Adoption Law

In general, Mississippi’s adoption law states that anyone can be adopted.  If your stepchild is over the age of 14, he or she will have to give consent. Aside from a new stepparent, an unmarried person or a married couple may also adopt.

The adoption won’t be finalized until the child has resided with the adoptive parent(s) for 6 months. If your new family has already been living together prior to the filing, this period of time may be shortened.

How Stepparent Adoption Law Works

Whether you are the stepmother or stepfather, you can adopt your spouse’s child as long as the two of you are legally married. You will file the adoption papers with the court of the county in which you reside.

Matters can get a little hairy when taking the other biological parent into account. For you to adopt his or her child, the biological parent’s parental rights have to be terminated. This can happen in two ways. The easiest route is by the other parent consenting to the adoption and relinquishing his or her rights willingly. Things get more difficult when biological parents don’t consent and have their rights forcibly terminated. This will only happen if:

  • They have abandoned the child.
  • They cannot financially support the child.
  • They rarely contact the child.
  • They have abused or neglected the child.
  • They’re the presumptive father but not the true biological father.

Upon approval of the adoption, your stepchild can take your last name and receive an updated birth certificate if desired. An adopted stepchild will also have the benefit of inheriting from you. Adopting your stepchild can be a wonderful step in uniting your new family, but it may be a complicated process. For an adoption process that’s family centered, reach out to Bosserman Law.