How Can I Adopt My Step-Child in California?

Step-Parent Adoption is an exciting but delicate legal issue. It is not uncommon for step-parents to want to legally adopt their spouse’s children and share parental rights along with them. For many families, it bonds them even closer together. However, in California, only two parents can have parental rights to a child. This means that for a step-parent adoption to happen, the other biological parent must sign away their parental rights to their own child.

If a step-parent is looking to adopt their step-child, there are a few ground requirements. You must meet all of these qualifications:

You must be the spouse or domestic partner of the child’s biological parent.
You must be a legal adult.
You must be at least ten years older than the child you’re adopting.
If the child is twelve years old or older, you must have their legal consent to be adopted.

We are going to assume that you have met all of these qualifications. Getting the consent of the child themselves is no easily dismissed matter, but if you are their step-parent, we can operate from the assumption that they love you and you take care of them. Getting approved for a step-parent adoption is actually much easier than the typical adoption process. The only other major hurdle is getting the consent of both biological parents.

Adopting your step-child means that you take on all the roles of a parent in their life, from taking care of them to being responsible for child support if you divorce your spouse. It will remove the child’s other biological parent from having parental rights, including visitation. That doesn’t mean that they will never get to see their child again, but it means that they will no longer have the legal right to.

Some biological parents are comfortable giving up their parental rights because it can get them off the hook for child support. In most cases, however, step-parent adoption happens as a result of a negligent biological parent. This could be that they are considered unfit to hold parental rights, or that they have abandoned their child. In California, going an entire year without any communication with your child is considered a baseline for abandonment. If a court determines the other biological parent is guilty of these charges, they will not have to give their consent for a step-parent adoption to happen.

We have also represented cases on the other side of the process. For some loving biological parents, having a step-parent attempt to take away their parental rights without their consent is their worst nightmare. We will always work to make sure the loving parents of a child have the rights to raise them, no matter what the situation is. The court rules in the best interest of the child, and, in plenty of cases, it remains with their biological parents.

If you are dealing with a step-parent adoption case, contact The Grey Legal Group today! It is one of our favorite areas to work in. We will work to make sure that your family is legally bonded together in love and comfort. At The Grey Legal Group, we know that the law is not always black and white, and neither is your family situation.

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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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