We are stepparent adoption experts with nearly thirty years experience processing nearly a thousand California stepparent adoptions. We know what to do even when challenging parents refuse to consent. Many of our stepparent adoption clients want their child to continue an ongoing relationship with the biological parent giving up parental rights. We are sensitive to these needs and are experts in managing these relationships.
Our attorneys will work closely with you to make sure the legal aspects of the adoption are covered. This includes:
- Preparing and filing the adoption request
- Termination of parental rights whether voluntary or court ordered
- Coordinating the social worker’s investigation
- Preparing you for the final court appearance where the adoption agreement and the adoption decree is signed
The process typically takes about four months but may be completed much sooner depending on your circumstances. At the completion of a stepparent adoption, the new parent through adoption shares all the legal and financial responsibilities with the spouse or partner retaining parental rights. The non-custodial original parent is relieved of any ongoing responsibilities, but obligations of the past, such as child support in arrears, remain in force.
The most difficult part of many stepparent adoptions is securing the noncustodial parent’s consent to adoption or termination of that parent’s rights. If the parent is in agreement with the adoption plan, he or she may sign consent or a waiver. We can also terminate the rights of an unknown father via court action. Depending on the facts of your particular situation, it may also be very possible to terminate rights of a non willing or missing parent via court action. Many times, even when our clients indicate that the noncustodial parent will be uncooperative or hostile, we have been very successful in working out arrangements so the adoption may take place. We have great success working with a parent where there is an adverse history. And we will always keep you informed of the status of our contact with that parent.