An Overview Of Step-Parent Adoptions

At Grey Legal, APC, we are proud to assist stepparents in adopting their stepchildren because it is a selfless and kind act. Typically, people do this because the biological parent isn’t a part of the child’s life. Although a stepparent can develop a close and meaningful relationship with their stepchild, there can only be two legal parents. 

Nothing requires a stepparent to adopt, but they do so because they want to take on that responsibility. Before we explain the process, we want to highlight some requirements. For instance, if you are not the spouse or domestic partner of the custodial parent, then you are not eligible to adopt your stepchild. You are not legally required to be married for any specific time before pursuing adoption. Additionally, you must be ten years older than the child and be an adult yourself. If the stepchild is twelve or older, you will need their consent. 

The Step-Parent Adoption Process

Though we will explain the road ahead, be aware that you should have legal counsel to support you. If, for example, any of this seems overwhelming, remember that your attorney will navigate you through the process. That said, one of the first steps they will do is to file an Adoption Request in the country where you and your spouse live. 

Like in all cases involving children, the court will not do anything that does not believe it is in the child’s best interest. This is a general term, but it is one that your attorney is intimately familiar with. With that in mind, there will be what is commonly referred to as a “home study” to learn more about you and where the child will live. A criminal history check must be run on you. If you have something on your record, bring this up with your attorney. Although certain crimes will question your ability to raise a child (e.g., child or domestic abuse), you will not automatically be denied for not having a spotless record.

The Other Biological Parent 

In California, men are either “alleged” or “presumed” fathers. Presumed fathers are people who were married to the child’s mother, are named on the child’s birth certificate, or have established paternity. Alleged fathers do not have these attributes, and their written consent to the adoption is not required. However, you and your attorney will have to show how you attempted to contact this person to give them notice of the adoption. 

The next step depends highly on your situation and the birth father’s willingness to remain a legal parent. They may willingly sign a Consent to Adoption form, or they choose to fight the adoption. Biological parents have extensive rights, which is a complex area of the law requiring an experienced attorney to guide you. 

Speak to an Attorney at The Grey Legal Group, APC

If you are successful in this process, you will become the child’s legal parent with all the rights and responsibilities associated with it. The child will receive a new birth certificate with your name as the birth parent. The attorneys at The Grey Legal Group, APC, will explain what happens if the non-custodial parent doesn’t consent to adoption and what occurs at the final hearing. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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The Grey Legal Group

At The Grey Legal Group, we believe in helping all families with their legal needs so they can be protected on your journey back to a calmer, happier place of stability. Whether it is divorce, child custody, guardianship, domestic violence, or adoption, we have seen it all before and we can help you through it. With the legal knowledge and experience we bring to the table, we will be certain to find the best and most efficient solution to your situation.

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