You may consider your spouse’s child as your own, and you may be the only other parent your stepchild knows. However, unless you make that connection official through adoption, your stepchild may miss out on some important benefits.
According to FamilyEducation, here are four reasons you may want to adopt your stepchild.
- To show your commitment
If your marriage ends, you no longer have any ties to your stepchild. By adopting, you are committing to becoming his or her parent permanently. So, in the event of a divorce, you would have the right and responsibility to stay in his or her life, providing emotional and financial support.
- To sever a toxic relationship with a biological parent
You can only adopt if you have the consent of the biological parent, if the courts have revoked his or her parental rights, or if he or she has abandoned your stepchild. By taking action to cut off the damaging relationship and establish a healthy one, you may be able to help your stepchild move past the trauma.
- To set everyone on equal footing
Blended families often have relationship conflicts. If you and your spouse adopt each other’s children, it may help reduce jealousy and sibling rivalry by making sure that everyone is on the same team and leveling the playing field.
- To provide benefits after death
Were you to die without adopting your stepchild, he or she would not gain any death benefits. However, an adopted child has the right to inherit, as well as rights to government benefits such as Social Security and veterans benefits, survivor benefits, settlements, insurance and more.