Having a solid parent-child bond with your stepchild is definitely beneficial for the two of you, but that may not be the best reason for you to consider stepparent adoption. In fact, adoption severs ties with the biological parent, and it may weaken your relationship with your stepchild when you take action to remove his or her other parent from the picture.

Still, there are many benefits that may indicate adoption is the key to creating a legal relationship between you and your stepchild.

Commitment

Perhaps the other parent has neglected or abandoned your stepchild. By legally replacing that parent, you are demonstrating that you will never do the same. In fact, your commitment to your adopted child is stronger than the legal commitment to your spouse. If you divorce your adopted child’s other parent, you still retain all the rights and responsibilities of a biological parent.

Guardianship

Your spouse may designate you as legal guardian of your stepchild in the event that he or she dies. However, if the other parent is alive at the time of your spouse’s death, he or she will probably receive full custody of the child unless the situation involves abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Even if the other parent is not in the picture, the court is likely to appoint a guardian for the child with another of his or her biological family members, such as an aunt or grandparent. Becoming the child’s parent eliminates the possibility that you will lose contact with your stepchild because of a catastrophic event.

Inheritance and benefits

Children typically receive a portion of their parents’ assets. Your stepchild may not unless you make specific provisions for him or her in your estate plan. Children also have rights to Social Security Disability benefits, death benefits, veterans benefits and more. Adoption confers all these financial rights to your child.