Sometimes, step-parents come into a child’s life and take their parental roles to heart and want to formally adopt their step-child. For this to occur, a few things need to happen:

  1. The child must have lived with the step-parent for at least 6 months.
  2. They must file a petition for step-parent adoption and concurrent request for the termination of the birth parents’ parental rights.
  3. The Court will order the preparation of a pre-adoptive home screening and post placement report (“home study”) into the circumstances, living conditions, overall home environment and fitness of the adoptive parent to take responsibility for his/her stepchild.
  4. A genetic history and criminal background report on the prospective parent must also be performed.
  5. Assuming no party has issued a legal challenge to the adoption, the Court will hear the testimony of the adoptive step-parent, his or her spouse and any other necessary party to the adoption and presumably grant the adoption.