Do you need a biological dad’s approval to adopt your stepchild?

Dating a woman who is already a mother can mean accepting her children as part of your life in order to share it with her. As time goes by, you may develop deep and meaningful bonds with your stepchildren that you want to honor, possibly through an adoption.

If you think that your spouse would agree to it and the child in question would be excited to get to call you “Dad,” stepparent adoption could be a way to offer your stepchild a little more security and to further validate your love and devotion to them.

You probably already realize that you’ll have to go to court and have the approval of your spouse to complete a stepparent adoption. However, what if the other biological parent is still alive? Do you have to get their approval in order to complete the adoption?

Biological parents who still have rights must waive them

If the biological father of your stepchild has died, obviously they can no longer fill the role of a parent or give you approval for an adoption. Additionally, in scenarios where the state has had to terminate a father’s parental rights, possibly due to abuse or severe neglect, their approval is no longer necessary, as they have no say in anything regarding the child.

However, even if they are a deadbeat dad who hasn’t seen their child in years, you will have to get the approval of a living father who has not yet lost or signed over his parental rights in order to adopt their child(ren).

 Why would anyone agree to give up their parental rights?

When you first consider it, the idea that anyone would willingly surrender their parental rights may seem ridiculous, but it’s important that you realize that there are obligations and responsibilities that come with those parental rights.

Especially for a father who hasn’t been enjoying shared custody or visitation with his children, approving the adoption may be a totally reasonable thing to do. Not only does it open the doorway for a child they care about to have more support in their life, but it will also free them of the ongoing obligation to provide child support for someone they don’t see or have a relationship with anymore.

The end of child support obligations alone can often be adequate motivation for some men to willingly rescind their parental rights and approve of a stepparent adoption of their biological child.