Can I Adopt My Stepchild?

Some stepparents get a bad rap. The fairy tales and modern day social media descriptions often portray them in a negative light. And then there are the stepparents who go the extra mile. Some of them offer more parental support than, at least, one of the natural parents. One of the most significant things a stepparent can do in these conditions is to adopt the child that they love and treat them as their own. In some situations, it’s easy enough to do but in others, the absent parent may make the process more difficult than it has to be, even if their intentions have nothing to do with caring for the child.

Parental Agreement and Different Circumstances

By far the least stressful method of adopting a stepchild is to get the absent parent to agree to the adoption. If the stepparent has been with the birth parent in a marriage since the child was born, the process is even more streamlined. However, some situations involve parents who don’t want to sign off their rights or simply can’t be found. In such situations, adopting your stepchild might become more complicated but it is not impossible.

If a parent doesn’t sign off, it may be up to the birth parent and stepparent to prove why the adoption would be in the best interest of the child. If the parent can’t be found, it’s up to the stepparent and birth parent to seek them out. Even if their location is unknown, you have to prove that you made every effort possible to find the absent parent.

If the absent parent’s name is unknown, every effort has to be made to find out who the parent is and locate them in order to obtain permission for the adoption. As you can see, this process can become detailed and difficult, and requires the assistance of a legal team familiar with stepparent adoptions. Your individual circumstances can determine how complex a stepparent adoption might become. For instance, if divorce is also part of the adoption, you will need an experienced lawyer to make sure all areas are covered. You can click here for more information on divorce and family law.

Interviews and Assessments

When a stepparent wants to adopt a child, they may have to go through interviews and assessments. If they have been with the child’s parent since before the child was born, they may be eligible to skip this process. Otherwise, the state of California will investigate the individual to make sure that they are a good candidate for adoption.

Being married before the birth of the child is significant and can speed the process up substantially. However, it’s also important to be married during the adoption procedure. Being divorced doesn’t automatically mean you won’t be able to adopt your stepchild, but it does mean that you will have to go through the investigative process.

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The Best Interest of the Child Comes First

As admirable as it is to be a stepparent who wants to adopt a child as their own, the courts still need to ensure that this is in the best interest of the child. Once the child is adopted, the absent birth parent loses all rights to the child, even if you still allow them visitation. They also give up responsibilities for the child, so the court wants to make sure that the stepparent can take on those responsibilities. Again, these are just some of the reasons that that the family lawyers at Brock Law can be helpful during the adoption process. Click here to learn more about family law and stepparent adoption in California.

Related Links:

Rancho Cucamonga Divorce and Family Law Attorney

Family Law Lawyer Rancho Cucamonga

San Bernardino Establishment of Paternity Lawyer

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