Are you considering adopting your stepchild? If so, that is wonderful and your stepson or stepdaughter is very fortunate to have you in their life. As you probably know, legally adopting your stepchild goes beyond marrying their mother or father. Once you legally adopt your stepchild, you become the child’s legal mother or father. Adoption means you become legally responsible for the child’s welfare – the same as a biological parent.
What is a stepparent adoption exactly? It’s where the husband or wife of a child’s custodial parent adopts their stepson or stepdaughter. According to the Superior Court of California, Orange County, the Department of Social Services prefers that a stepparent is married to the child’s mother or father for at least one year before he or she adopts the child.
Steps Involved in the Adoption
There are several steps involved in a stepparent adoption. Here is a brief summary:
- The custodial parent and the stepparent fill out the required court forms.
- Obtain consent from the child’s other biological parent who will be giving up custody of their son or daughter.
- If the child’s other parent won’t consent to the adoption, another option may be the Termination of Parental Rights.
- Once the couple has submitted the stepparent adoption request, the Probate Court Services Department will be notified and an investigation will be started.
- The couple will receive forms to be completed from the court and a list of documents that they’ll need to obtain and submit to the court.
- Once all documents have been gathered, the couple will need to schedule an appointment so their documents can be reviewed.
- If all documents have been obtained, an investigation will begin.
- The investigator will verify employment, check law enforcement records, and check for any history of child abuse.
- When the investigation is complete, a report will be submitted to the court. The investigator will either support or not support the adoption.
- An adoption hearing will be held. If you are a stepparent adoption your stepchild, you will need to bring the child and your spouse to the hearing.
To learn more about stepparent adoptions in Orange County, we invite you to contact Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP at (949) 565-4158.