Adopting your spouse’s son or daughter is a way to show your love and lifelong devotion to your stepchild. It can increase their self-esteem and sense of belonging and help strengthen the relationship. Adoption also allows a stepparent to retain the rights as a biological parent of the child, giving them joint custody of the child with their spouse.
Before a stepparent can begin the adoption process, they require the consent of the child’s other birth or legal parent. While some birth parents are willing to consent to a stepparent adoption, others may refuse. If this occurs, the adoption will not be allowed unless that parent’s rights are terminated for abandonment, failure to support the child or for another reason. An adoption lawyer can help you collect the evidence required to terminate the rights of the birth parent.
Adoption Request Filing
Once you have consent to continue, you can file an Adoption Request with the presiding California court. The form will ask you to provide information about yourself, the child, your relation to the child and anything else relevant to the adoption determination.
Social Services Investigation
After the Adoption Request, a lawyer can forward the request to the appropriate social services agency, who will conduct a brief investigation of the proposed adoption. The investigation will require you to gather relevant documents and participate in social service interviews. The interview and investigation stage of the process is crucial to your success. An experienced adoption attorney can help you prepare for the interview.
The final step is a hearing before the family court judge who will make a decision on whether or not the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
These are a few factors a judge may look at:
- Child’s age, health, safety and welfare
- History of domestic violence
- Biological parent’s ability to care for the child, if applicable
- Emotional relationship between you and child
If you are a stepparent interested in adopting your stepchild, contact our Temecula stepparent adoption lawyers at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. We can provide legal assistance to give you the support and representation needed to achieve your goals. Learn more about adoption and how we can help by reaching out to us.Call (951) 506-6654 or contact us online for a free consultation.