When I get married does that automatically make him stepdad to my son? Or do I have to file legal papers for that? The biological father past away. – April
Thanks for your question. The term “Stepdad” is not a legal title but a designation. Think of it like a nickname your mother might choose to be called instead of “grandma”. Stepdad is a word we use to make it easier for strangers to understand the relationship between a parent figure and a child. There is no legal paperwork required to be called Stepdad.
Unlike the word Stepdad, the title of “father” is a legal designation. You mentioned that the biological father has passed away. This puts you in a position to allow the Stepdad to adopt your child and become his legal father.
How To Adopt
Adoptions can cost thousands of dollars. But there are ways of reducing the cost. If your father is willing to sign off on the adoption you can do it for a lot less without the help of an attorney. I recommend using myadoptionforms.com. You can get all you need to complete the adoption for a fraction of what it would cost to use a lawyer.
The Legal Rights Of Stepdads
Most people don’t realize that a Stepdad has limited legal rights in most western culture countries. In fact -in the United States he has no legal rights at all with regard to his stepchildren. He can’t legally approve medical care if the child becomes sick or injured and he can even be blocked from picking his kid up from school without written permission. The term in law used to describe his relationship to the child is actually “legal stranger”. The law considers him to have no more legal connection with the child than a stranger.
If your new husband wants to take on the role of dad I highly encourage him to adopt your son. Adoption will have positive and noticeable benefits for your relationship and for your family life.
1) Your son will feel more comfortable with the transition.
2) It will help you bond better as a family. This is especially true if you decide to have more children.
3) Your husband will transition to the role of father easier because his commitment level will be higher.
The adoption laws vary depending on where you live. There is a cost involved with filing adoption paperwork but it can be filed without a lawyer in many cases, so it doesn’t have to be very expensive. Check the laws in your state or province to see what’s involved. Helping your son settle in and transition will help him avoid unnecessary stress and make him feel more comfortable about someone new in your home. It’s a sad thing that he lost his father but it’s beautiful that he may have another man who can be a new father figure for him.
To help your husband transition easier into his new role, encourage him to use Stepdadding.com as a resource for Stepdad information and inspiration. Best of luck with your marriage.