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You could adopt your stepchild with the right help

As a stepparent to a child without a father or a mother in his/her life, you may feel like you want to take on that role and support the child you love. While you're there for the child in your everyday life, the legal responsibility to the child is different for you than for the child's biological parents.

For some people, the right answer to this question of rights is seeking an adoption of the stepchild. Usually, you can only adopt a child if the biological parent gives up his or her rights or is no longer living. This is not always the case, but generally speaking, only two people can have guardianship over a child.

When you adopt your stepchild, you gain the full financial and legal responsibilities that a biological parent receives. Following adoption, you'll be able to designate the child as a beneficiary to your estate, or you can indicate custody to get your stepchild a passport.With custody, your work's medical benefits or other kinds of benefits can be provided to your child, and you can also authorize medical care for the child in an emergency or other situation.

Georgia sometimes requires home studies before you can adopt your stepchild. What this means is that someone will come into your home to see how you interact. You should fully understand what to expect before this takes place, so you feel comfortable with the process. Our website has more about this process and what it takes to adopt a stepchild in Georgia, so you can be more informed.

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