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How long do I have to be married to adopt a step child?

Dothan, AL |

I have been married (for the second time) less than 2 months. My step-daughter has asked that I adopt her. She is 12 years old. There is no father in the picture and there has not been her entire life, and location is unknown.

I am not the biological father. I am simply the mother's husband who wants to adopt the child.

Attorney Answers 1


  1. You dont have to be married to adopt. The laws of Alabama provide that any adult person may adopt a minor child. A husband and wife may adopt a child if they do so jointly (Ala. Code. § 26-10A-5(a)). Statutory law provides that the Department of Human Resources (DHR) cannot prevent an adoption of a child solely because the petitioner in unmarried or because he or she is of a certain age. Furthermore, no rule or regulation of DHR shall prevent an adoption by a person is employed outside of the home, but DHR may require the adult petitioner remain in the home with the child for a period of no more than 60 consecutive days when the child requires that person’s presence of his or her adjustment.

    Nevertheless, if a court with proper jurisdiction determines by substantial evidence that the biological father of a child is the man that is married to the biological mother of that child, then the biological father can adopt the minor child without the consent of any man who was married to the biological mother at the time of the child conception or birth, or both, so long as the court finds that the adoption to be in the best interest of the child (Ala. Code. § 26-10A-5(a)(3)).

    Adult adoption is permitted in the State of Alabama and is codified in Ala. Code. § 26-10A-6.