Albany Family Law Blog

Which estate planning documents should I update after divorce?

Posted by Joanne P. Monagan, Esq. | Oct 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Finding someone that you want to marry can change your life. If they already have children, you essentially gain an instant family. Becoming a stepparent is an incredible, rewarding experience. Eventually, as you build a strong bond with the children, you may want to remove the prefix from your title. 

Stepparent adoption can make you the true legal parent of the children that you have come to love. The benefits that come with legal adoption could motivate you to formally change your relationship with your stepchildren.

You let the children know how much they matter to you

Perhaps the biggest and most obvious benefit of stepparent adoption is that it validates the relationship that you have with your stepchildren. It is common for stepchildren to feel uncertain about their role in the family or the true feelings of their stepparent toward them. Adopting your stepchildren makes it clear exactly how important they are to you.

You protect your involvement in case you get divorced

As much as you love your spouse, the future is unpredictable. Interpersonal relationships change, and as a stepparent, you are vulnerable if you get divorced. It will be much easier for you to secure visitation rights or shared custody of your stepchildren if you adopt them now so that you are a legal parent in the eyes of the state.

You make the children eligible for benefits and inheritance

Stepchildren don't always have the same legal rights as biological or legal children do when it comes to employment benefits like being added to your health insurance. There's also your legacy to consider. Adopting your stepchildren will give them stronger rights to inheritance from your estate after you die. 

Stepparent adoption often takes some effort, as you may require approval from the other parent and court proceedings. However, pursuing a stepparent adoption can benefit everyone in your family, making it worth the effort.

About the Author

Joanne P. Monagan, Esq.

Managing Attorney


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