As St. Louis-area readers of our blog know, families come in all shapes and sizes these days. Interracial households, same-sex parents and single fathers raising their children might all have raised eyebrows once upon a time. These days, however, what might have been considered a non-traditional family once upon a time is utterly commonplace.
Stepparents are hardly considered novel anymore either. Couples marry, divorce and remarry new partners with such frequency that there are all sorts of interpersonal relationships at work under the same roof: half-siblings, stepsiblings and stepparents all coexist as a family unit, regardless of what the legal relationships are.
For many people, this is working out just fine. There’s no need for them to change the legal status of their relationships. However, as we discussed in a recent article we posted to our site regarding stepparent adoption, folks shouldn’t be dissuaded from pursuing this option if it is something that would make sense. In many cases, the process isn’t as difficult as some stepparents might think.
There are many reasons why people would want to consider taking this step. Some kids will feel safer and an experience a greater sense of emotional belonging when they are adopted by a stepparent. For legal and tax reasons, it can be much simpler to identify a child as being a legal son or daughter, rather than just an informal relationship. It also puts stepsiblings, biological siblings and half-siblings on the same legal footing to one another.
Clearly, the choice for doing this varies by family. Consultation with an experienced family law attorney might help to clarify some of the issues and provide answers to the questions families might have.