Step-Parent Adoption

Riverside Step-Parent Adoption Lawyer

The Legal Implications of Adopting Stepchildren

When families combine, one spouse often wants to adopt the children of the other spouse. In most states, this type of adoption is not as difficult as other types of adoption, but the legal process can still be complicated. When a conflict of interests occurs, step-parent adoption can be one of the most complex aspects of family law.

In order for the adoption to take place, the other birth parent will have to give their consent. By consenting, the other parent gives up all of their parental rights; however, if you can prove abandonment, that the other parent is unfit, or establish that they are not in fact biologically related, their rights could be terminated. Also, it is legal for same-sex partners to adopt the other's children using the step-parent adoption procedure.

Steps to Filing for Adoption in CA

According to the Judicial Branch of California, there are certain steps that must happen in order to finalize a step-parent adoption. First, court forms will have to be filled out correctly and reviewed. Second, if there is another birth parent, they will have to consent to the adoption. At this point, a home study may be necessary, including an interview with an investigator. Finally, a court date will be set and you will attend the adoption hearing.

Legal Paperwork for Adoption

When filing out forms, it is important to make sure that you have the right forms, and copies of each. There should be at least two copies made of these forms before you file them with the court clerk. To ensure that you have the right forms, check with your local court to see whether or not additional forms must be completed. The family law facilitator at your local court will have to evaluate your paperwork before you file it with the court clerk.

The following forms are required for an adoption:

  • Adoption request form
  • Adoption agreement form
  • Adoption order form

After you have filled out all pertinent forms, the completed and approved paperwork must then be served to the child's other birth parent. Someone other than the person attempting to adopt must serve the papers, and the other birth parent must consent to this adoption; however, consent may not be required if the other parent abandoned the child for more than a year or failed child support payments.

Contesting a Petition for Adoption

To look at this from the opposite perspective, you may be a biological parent of a child who does not wish for your child to be adopted by your ex-partner's new spouse. You can contest this petition, since it requires your approval for the adoption to take place. These cases can be exceedingly complicated, making it almost a necessity to have an experienced attorney on your side.

The overarching principle for these cases is what is in the best interests of the child. You will likely have to undergo an investigation, along with the person attempting to adopt. This investigation can be conducted by either a social worker or court official. The final step is to attend an adoption hearing. Depending on whether or not the adoption is contested, the amount of time it takes to complete an adoption will vary.

Why Hire a Family Lawyer?

Due to the numerous complications that could arise during a step-parent adoption, having a Riverside family law attorney on your side could prove to be invaluable. A divorce lawyer can walk you through the entire process and help diminish the time the adoption takes to be settled. Our team at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich is committed to helping families through this step.

Call us today to discuss your case with a member of our team!