How Does Stepparent Adoption in California Work?

If you have been raising your stepchild as your own, you may soon want to adopt the child. The love between a stepparent and stepchild can be just as strong as the love between biological parents and their children, and many stepparents end up raising their stepchildren like their own.

However, a stepparent does not have the same legal rights to a child as a biological parent has, according to California law. In this situation, many stepparents look to solidify the relationship through adoption. But this can be a complicated process, particularly if a biological parent has other ideas about the child’s future.

For help adopting your stepchild, you may want to reach out to an adoption lawyer.

Why You Should Adopt

First, you’ll need to establish why you should be allowed to adopt the child. After all, once a couple becomes married, a stepparent does have certain rights. A stepparent can typically do things like take a child to the doctor, help out with school, and enroll the child in sports.

However, if the biological parent were to die or become unable to legally care for the child, that stepparent would no longer have the same legal rights. Instead, the child’s other biological parent would gain sole custody. This can be alarming if the other biological parent is unreliable, unstable, or generally uninterested in the child’s wellbeing.

Adoption officially establishes and protects your rights as a stepparent so that, even if you divorce the biological parent in the future, those rights will remain intact.

The Stepparent Adoption Process

For a stepparent to adopt a child, the biological parents must agree to the adoption. This is typically easy to obtain from the biological parent who is married to the stepparent. That parent gets to maintain his or her legal rights without sacrificing them for the adoption to occur.

However, conflict can arise between the other biological parent who is outside of that married relationship. For example, if a mother remarries, the new husband and stepfather may wish to adopt the children. The biological father may disagree because, in order for the stepdad to complete the adoption, the biological father would need to give up his custodial rights.

The same is true of the situation in reverse. Essentially, if a stepfather or stepmother wishes to adopt a child, the parent of the same sex needs to give up his or her custodial rights.

If a child was born to a same-sex couple, one of the parents would need to give up his or her custodial rights for an adoption to occur, regardless of which one does. Essentially, a child can only have two legal parents.

Once there is an agreement, a court hearing will need to take place for the adoption to be official. This is something a family law attorney should handle to ensure that the paperwork is completed correctly and that everything goes smoothly during the court hearing.

Rancho Cucamonga Adoption Lawyer

The Office of Laurence J. Brock handles stepparent adoptions. You can reach us to discuss your case in further detail by calling 909-466-7661 or filling out the online contact form at the bottom of this page.

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