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Do The Kids Have To Consent To A Stepparent Adoption?

If you want to adopt your stepchild, there are a few hoops you must jump through. Learn more about them here from Dempsey Law.

September 12, 2022

If you are living with unofficial step kids, you know how difficult the arrangement can be. After all, even though you act as a mother or father figure, the law does not recognize your relationship. This can make it challenging to work with school officials, doctors, government officials and others.

According to Psychology Today, most blended families face a series of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Many of these challenges go away on their own after the stepparent adopts the stepchildren, fortunately. Still, if your step kids are still adjusting to a new way of life, you may wonder if they must consent to the adoption.

The ages of your step kids

If you want to adopt your stepchild, there are a few hoops you must jump through. Therefore, it is advisable to fully understand all your legal rights and responsibilities before you start the process. You may not have to worry about convincing your step kids to agree to the adoption, though.

In North Carolina, only children who are 12 years or older must consent to a stepparent’s adoption. There is a good reason for this, of course. Specifically, teens tend to have the maturity to form opinions about their care. If your step kids are younger than 12, they likely lack this maturity.

Some buy-in from your step kids

Even if your stepchildren are not old enough to legally consent to their adoption, you probably want to get their buy-in before proceeding. Indeed, if your step kids do not want the adoption to take place, they may resent you for the foreseeable future. This can make your life and their lives miserable.

Ultimately, if your stepchildren are reluctant to go along with your adoption plans, you may want to go through some family counseling sessions to better understand their reservations.

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