The process to adopt your stepchild

There are certain steps you must take in order to adopt a stepchild. Be sure that you have taken the exact steps for your situation.

Stepparent adoption situations

The process to adopt your stepchild depends on the situation with the other parent. Select your situation for step-by-step instructions on how to adopt your stepchild:

If you want to adopt a stepchild who is 18 or over, you can do so through the adult adoption process. If you are looking to confirm parentage, see stepparent adoption to confirm parentage.


What is the difference between a presumed parent and an alleged father?

A presumed parent usually had a relationship with the mother during the pregnancy and may continue to have a relationship with the child. They might not be the biological parent of the child, but they are someone who helped raise the child for a period of time and who the child recognizes as their parent.

If a person is a presumed parent, one or more of the following are usually true:

  • They were once married to the child's other parent
  • Their name is on the child's birth certificate
  • They lived with the child at one time
  • They have held themselves out to the public as a parent to the child
  • They may have provided support to the mother during her pregnancy and afterward
  • They have done everything in their power to raise the child and provide for the child

A presumed parent can also be the person who gave birth to the child.

An alleged father is any person identified by the mother (or another person) as a possible father of the child, including a person who says that he is or could be the father of the child.

An alleged father has not done any of the things that would make someone a presumed parent, such as provide for the child or appear on the child's birth certificate.

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