Today, stepparents raise millions of children across the United States. Stepparent adoption is the most common type of adoption in the country, and thousands of new stepfamilies are created each day. Many California stepparents seek to adopt their stepchildren to establish a legal bond that can be vital in the future.
Stepparent adoptions are easier to complete than other forms of adoption, but will still require adherence to deadlines and completion of several vital steps. Our family law lawyers at Schwartzberg | Luther assist stepparents in successfully adopting their stepchildren across California. The following is a look at some common questions asked by prospective stepparent adopters:
How do I get started with adopting my stepchild in California?
Your journey to adopting your stepchild should begin with a consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney. Your family law attorney will explain the process in-depth and start completing the necessary forms. Required stepparent adoption forms may include an adoption request form, adoption agreement, and adoption order, along with consent forms which will be discussed below. The forms will require all of your basic information along with that of the child’s. Once the appropriate forms and filed and fees paid, the court will dispatch an investigator who will issue a report concerning the adoption.
Do I need to consent of both biological parents for the adoption to move forward?
You will generally need both parent’s consent to adopt your stepchild, although there are exceptions to this rule under California law. Usually, you will not have a problem obtaining the consent of your spouse, but the other biological parent could pose an issue. The easiest course of action is to attempt to reach out to the absent biological parent if you know his or her whereabouts. Your attorney can assist you in this step.
If the parent cannot be located or refuses to consent to the adoption, you still have options. Your lawyer will help you to prepare and file a petition for termination of parental rights. There are several potential grounds that you can raise in support of a petition for termination. These include abandonment of the child, mental illness suffered by the parent, felony convictions, and imprisonment, and more. The process of successfully terminating an absent parent’s parental rights can be complex, but with the help of an experienced attorney you can succeed in this process.
Will I need to appear in court?
Yes. Under California law, you will need to attend a hearing to complete the adoption. Your stepchild and the custodial parent will also be present, along with your lawyer. You can bring a camera with you to take a photo of you and your child to celebrate this momentous day.
How long does it take to complete a stepparent adoption?
The time to complete a stepparent adoption will vary depending on the unique facts of the case. If you have obtained the consent of both biological parents and there are no other major issues, the process may take as little as 120 days. If, however, the absent parent will not consent or other obstacles arise, the process can take far longer.
Contact Schwartzberg | Luther, APC Today for Help With Your Family Law Needs
Adoption can be a wonderful option for many California stepparents. The Rancho Cucamonga Family Law Attorneys at Schwartzberg | Luther, APC have assisted stepparents across the state in adopting their stepchildren. We will walk you through the stepparent adoption process to make it as stress-free and easy as possible. Our family law attorneys at Schwartzberg | Luther, APC offer dedicated representation to protect your legal interests. Call us today at (909) 457-4270 to schedule your initial consultation.
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