In cases in which a stepparent may provide a more stable environment for a child than the biological parents, judges may still favor biological parents due to personal and societal beliefs about what constitutes a "normal" family.
Many other children have lived in single-parent families for a time before their biological parent remarried, when they moved into a two-parent family with one biological parent and one stepparent.
These stresses include the unclear role and authority of the stepparent, financial responsibility for stepchildren, conflict between custodial and noncustodial parents, and emotional tensions.
Domestic partners may receive health coverage under their spouse, rights to stepparent adoption, death benefits and in certain instances, estate administration.
Because in most divorces, primary custody is awarded to the biological mother, most stepfamilies involve stepfathers who become the full-time stepparent.
The role of the stepparent and status in the family is often unclear with regard to authority, level of involvement with the stepchild, and discipline.
While these data are non-specific, it is safe to say that a significant number of the stepchildren were neither kinship nor stepparent adoptions.
However, in 1992, for example, stepparent adoptions (a form of kinship adoption) alone accounted for 42 percent of all adoptions.
One of the most important steps you will ever take as a stepparent is to show respect for your stepchild's feelings and beliefs.
Informal adoptions occur when a relative or stepparent assumes permanent parental responsibilities without court involvement.