It’s always a wonderful thing when a stepparent wants to take on the official responsibility of adopting a child. You may have entered into a marriage with someone who had children prior to your marriage. When you build a strong relationship with the child or children, it’s only natural that you may desire to enter into adoption. This can be possible in California through stepparent adoption processes, and a Santa Rosa stepparent adoption lawyer can help.
There are certain steps that must be taken for a stepparent to adopt the child or children of their partner in Santa Rosa, CA. The most important step is to receive permission from the parent without custody to adopt any children. This is often a difficult and emotional process, but it’s vital to the adoption process. The only other option is to acquire a court order that terminates the rights of the other biological parent. There are cases where you won’t need the consent of the other biological parent.
Additionally, it may be necessary to gain the consent of the child as well. If the child is 12 or older, you will need them to consent to the adoption. If they are younger than 12, their consent is not required. When you acquire a stepparent adoption, you’re taking on the responsibility of caring for the child as your own and doing what’s in their interest.
Some people may be unaware, but officials from the state will conduct a full background investigation before making a move to approve adoption. The reason for an investigation is to make sure that the adoption is the right move for the child’s interests. In addition to the investigation, there are several pieces of documentation that have to be presented. This includes:
After consent has been received from the non-custodial parent, all of the other parameters are met, the investigation by the state officials has been conducted, and the required paperwork provided, the final step is appearing before the judge. During this last step, the stepparent agrees before the court to take responsibility for the child in the role of a parent.
It may be important to you and your family that you have friends and other family members present during this hearing. This is an emotional time and a time of happiness and new beginnings. During this proceeding, as long as all requirements have been met, you should expect to receive confirmation of the adoption, and you may want your most important people around you to celebrate.
After the adoption proceedings have been completed, you’ll want to seek a new birth certificate that will reflect the changes in circumstance. A new birth certificate will reflect the adoption and your status as the parent to the child.
A: Costs can vary, depending on how much involvement your lawyer has in acquiring the appropriate consent and preparing all the required documents. The background investigation alone, which is a requirement to confirm the stepparent is qualified to adopt the child, may cost up to $700, depending on what kind of court costs are incurred in the process. Then, any attorney charges will need to be factored into your final costs.
A: Because several factors go into the adoption process, there is a range of time that it can take to complete the stepchild adoption process. If everything goes quickly and smoothly, it can take as little as six months to complete the adoption process. In many instances, from the start to the finish of the process can be completed within a year. The typical average time is 2 to 4 months.
A: Typically, it’s a requirement that the stepparent acquires the consent of the other parent in the event of a stepchild adoption. However, there are cases in which parental consent isn’t required. If the biological father is deceased, consent isn’t necessary. Also, the court can be petitioned to terminate parental rights, if the parent cannot be located, if they sign a form asserting they’re not the parent, or if the father is unknown.
A: During the adoption process, a stepparent will take on all the responsibilities of a parent and be required to accept responsibility for the child as if the child is their own. If the adoption process has been completed, the stepparent has all the same rights as a biological parent to the child. In the event of a divorce, the stepparent must petition the court for visitation rights.
Adoption can be an incredibly important part of a child’s life, and a stepparent should take it seriously if they’re considering starting the process. A dedicated lawyer will help you move through the adoption process smoothly, assuring you have all the consent and paperwork you need for a successful stepparent adoption. Carroll Law Office has a full legal team experienced in family law, ready to represent you. Contact us and schedule a consultation with us to begin.
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