Nebraska spouses can sometimes adopt their stepchildren

Adopting a stepchild can be a deeply meaningful experience for the parent and child. Also, the legal and financial rights and responsibilities taken on by the adopting stepparent last forever and change everything. Like almost everyone, your circumstances are probably special. Let’s clear the air and clear the path for your next steps in adopting your spouse’s children.

Who do you need to be?

In Nebraska, you must be married to a parent of the stepchild.

You must be a Nebraska resident for more than one year, and you must live here with the child for the six months prior to filing (with your county probate court). You’ll need to undergo a criminal background check, but unlike with other adoptions, the state doesn’t perform a “home study” for stepparents seeking to adopt a stepchild.

Whose permission do you need?

Like everyone else, the child had two biological parents: for example, your spouse and a “non-custodial” parent. Either the non-custodial parent must give the court their consent for you to adopt the child, or they must have abandoned their child, meaning no substantial contact with the child for six months. Once the adoption is final, that parent will lose all parental rights to the child.

If the child is 14 years old or older, the child must also give written consent for you to adopted them. Sometimes stepparents adopt their spouse’s adult children for legal reasons typically involving estate planning. The 50-year-old you’re adopting will have to sign the form, just like the 14-year-old.

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