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Can a military member adopt a stepchild in California?

For members of the military, forging meaningful relationships can be difficult. For that reason, a person who builds a loving relationship with a stepchild might ultimately decide that he or she would like to try to adopt the child. There are several things that a person in the military should consider when he or she is thinking about adopting a stepchild. Our readers in California might find these answers helpful.

Can I adopt my stepchild?

There are certain qualifications that must be met for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild. The child's other biological parent has the right to know about the adoption. An adoption will sever all rights that the noncustodial parent has to the child. For that reason, the noncustodial parent must be given the opportunity to refuse consent to the adoption. A failure to respond or a signed consent can allow the adoption to move forward.

What are the benefits of adopting my stepchild?

The child will feel more like a family. The child will have inheritance rights if you pass away. You will have access to information about the child and can sign documents for the child once the adoption is finalized.

What if we divorce?

Your stepchild can enjoy the benefits of TRICARE if you adopt him or her, and that right to medical and dental care is extended to the child even if you divorce his or her biological parent. Additionally, you might be able to get visitation or custody if you and the child's biological parent divorce. You might also be responsible for paying child support.

It is important for anyone who is considering adopting a stepchild to fully understand what he or she is doing. Learning about how the decision affects you, the child and other family members can help you to make an informed decision.

Source: Military OneSource, "Adopting a Stepchild When You're in the Military" Jan. 07, 2015

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