Step-parent adoption: To do, or not to do-that is the question

Authors Sandra Ferreira

ISSN: 2522-3062
Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Private Law, University of South Africa
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 50 Issue 2, p. 230 – 250


Once a child has been adopted, he or she is regarded as the child of the adoptive parent for all purposes, and vice versa. Conversely, an adoption also terminates relationships that existed before the adoption. This article focuses on step-parent adoption. I point out that there is a difference between step-parent adoption and other forms of adoption. I then consider whether it is still appropriate and in the best interests of the child to legalise the relationship between a step-parent and stepchild through adoption, and so to terminate the child’s legal relationship with a parent and/or family. In order to determine this, a comparative analysis is undertaken. Finally, I conclude that the time has come to consider alternative ways to formalise and protect the step-parent and stepchild relationship.