How a Family Law Attorney Helps with Stepparent Adoptions
If you are considering stepparent adoption, you should talk with a Santa Ana family law attorney. Stepparent adoption can be a great solution for some blended families, but is not appropriate in all situations. A stepparent who adopts a child also needs to understand the full extent of the responsibilities which are being taken on through adoption. If you have decided that stepparent adoption is the right choice, you also must ensure you follow all proper legal processes so the adoption can be finalized.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance with stepparent adoption. We offer advice to families considering this option and we guide you throughout the entire process so you can make sure your family bonds are permanent and legal. Give us a call today to speak with a Santa Ana family law attorney who can help you.
Is Stepparent Adoption Right for Your Family?
Stepparent adoption can provide important protection for a child and for the child’s stepmom or stepdad. If a stepparent is raising a child as his own, the adoption will formalize and cement the legal relationship. Without the adoption by the stepparent, the stepparent’s relationship with the child is dependent upon the marriage with the child’s other parent continuing. To establish an independent legal relationship between stepparent and stepchild, adoption is needed.
Adoption is not possible in all families. If both the child’s biological mother and biological father still have their parental rights and do not want to relinquish them, stepparent adoption is not possible. A child who already has two parents cannot be adopted by a third parent, even if that third parent is a stepparent.
If you want stepparent adoption to occur and the other parent has given up his or her parental rights or had parental rights terminated by the court, the stepparent adoption should be able to move forward. Otherwise, the refusal of the other birth parent to give up his rights will prevent the adoption from going through.
Both step parents and biological parents also need to realize the adoption creates a permanent relationship. If divorce subsequently occurs, the stepparent who adopted the child will have a claim to custody and will have a child support obligation, when no custody claim or support obligation would have existed if the adoption didn’t happen.
How Can a Santa Ana Family Law Attorney Help With Stepparent Adoption?
The California Courts provide a step-by-step guide to stepparent adoption. The process includes submitting an adoption request for each child (Adopt-200 form) as well as submitting and preparing an adoption agreement (Adopt-210 form). The adoption request provides general information about the child and the stepparent who wishes to adopt. The adoption agreement should be signed by the adoptive parent and by the child if the child is over the age of 12.
Certain supporting documentation also must be submitted to the court in addition to these forms. For example, the supporting documentation needs to include the child’s birth certificate; the marriage license for the parent and stepparent (or certificate of domestic partnership); the death certificate of the other biological parent, if applicable. Other paperwork, including the final divorce decree from the biological parents first marriage; a court order awarding custody; and an order terminating parental rights of the other biological parent, is also mandatory in some stepparent adoption cases.
After all required paperwork has been received, the court will schedule a hearing, which should be attended by the child, his or her parent, and the stepparent who will be adopting the child. The court will make sure everything is in order and then will finalize the adoption. A new birth certificate can subsequently be obtained for the child.
This process can all be complicated, as it can be hard to determine what paperwork you need and what court the documentation should be submitted to. A Santa Ana family law attorney can provide assistance in gathering the proper paperwork and following all of the formal legal steps that are necessary in order for the adoption to go through.
Contact a Santa Ana Family Law Attorney About Stepparent Adoption Today
Stepparent adoption can provide children and families with stability and security, under the right circumstances. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP is happy to help your family take the important step of establishing permanent legal bonds between stepparents and stepchildren. When you are considering the adoption of a child by a stepparent, give us a call as soon as possible to find out how a Santa Ana family law attorney can assist you throughout the process. You can reach us at (866)237-8129 or contact us online to get started.