A Quick Guide to the Step-Parent Adoption in California

Adopting a stepchild is a beautiful event that takes place in many families. Many people are surprised, however, at just how complicated it can be from a legal point of view. Learning about how this process works, what potential legal obstacles can come up, and how to overcome them, is very important. The following are some key points to understand when considering a step-parent adoption in California. If you have any questions after reading through this quick guide, please contact Grey Legal Group to set up a consultation.

Most Common Form of Adoption

Step-parent adoptions are one of the most common forms of adoption in California. In most cases, this type of adoption is simpler to complete than other types because of the fact that at least one of the biological parents will be there to support it.

Married or Domestic Partners

In order to adopt a step-child, you must either be legally married to, or the legal domestic partner of, the child’s legal parent.


In order to complete a step-parent adoption, you will need to have the consent of the mother (if living), which was given after the birth of the child. The legal father must sign consent as well. This applies in cases where the biological father is known either by the child being conceived while married to the mother, or established through a court hearing. If the child was previously adopted by another man, that father must also consent.

The consent requirements can be overcome if the parent in question had deserted the child and provided no means of identification or contact, or the courts have declared that parent incapacitated without a reasonable hope of recovery. If the parental rights have been terminated by the courts, this can also negate the need for consent.

Why Seek a Step-Parent Adoption

The most common reason a step-parent will adopt their stepchild is for symbolic or emotional reasons. In many families, this can be a great bonding or coming together moment to really show the permanence of their love. Legally speaking, adoption will give the step-parent rights to do things like sign permission slips at school, make medical decisions, and much more. In addition, the adoption will help with how the child will receive any inheritance, since the child will be treated the same as biological children from a legal point of view.

We are Here to Help

If you are thinking about a step-parent adoption, you will want to make sure everything is handled correctly from start to finish. Let us guide you through the process. Contact The Grey Legal Group to speak with an attorney and get this important process started.

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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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