Step Parent Adoption Law and Legal Definition

Both biological parents, if living, must consent or agree to a stepparent adoption. When a stepparent adopts a stepchild, either the non-custodial parent of the child willingly gives up his or her parental rights to the child, or the court terminates the parental rights of a biological parent if there is evidence of abuse or neglect to the child. If a parent is not involved in the child's life, the court can terminate that biological parents rights on the grounds of abandonment. Grounds for abandonment in most states are no contact between the parent and child for at least one year.

The following is an example of a state statute defining the term:

"Stepparent adoption" means an adoption of a child by a stepparent where one birth parent retains custody and control of the child.”[Cal Fam Code § 8548]