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Stepparent Adoption: Helping Stepparents Know Their Rights In California

Stepparents often form close bonds and relationships with stepchildren, especially if the child’s other parent is not as involved in the child’s life. However, stepparents do not automatically have any legal rights over a stepchild. This means that should a stepparent get divorced, they have no right to spend time with the child or be involved in their life.

To protect this special relationship, many stepparents legally adopt their stepchildren. This is a legal process that can be relatively straightforward or challenging, depending on your circumstances. You want the help of an experienced stepparent adoption lawyer in California to ensure you can complete the adoption process. In Huntington Beach and surrounding areas, the firm to contact is Furubotten Law, APC.

The Legal Adoption Process In California

To adopt a stepchild, the stepparent must obtain the consent of the child’s other parent. In some cases, if the parent is largely absent from the child’s life, they may agree to the adoption from the start. If you cannot get consent, it may be necessary to request that the court terminate their parental rights due to abandonment or the inability to care for the child. This can be a contentious part of the adoption process, and you want the right attorney on your side.

Once you have consent or termination of parental rights, the stepparent adoption process can be quicker and simpler than the traditional adoption process. Denise Furubotten can ensure that things go smoothly so you can begin your life as your stepchild’s legal parent as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stepparent Adoption In California

Many clients have a lot of questions. Below are answers to some of the most common queries Denise receives.

What are the requirements for adopting my stepchild in California?

If your stepchild is over 18 years of age, then you can go through an adult adoption process. If you want to adopt a stepchild who is under 18, then you need to first notify and obtain the noncustodial parent’s consent, since the adoption requires the termination of their parental rights and obligations. In some cases, it may be possible to proceed with an adoption even without consent.

How long does stepparent adoption take in California?

It depends entirely on the unique circumstances of your case. In general, an uncontested stepparent adoption can be accomplished in just six months or less. If consent cannot be obtained, then the case may naturally take longer. When you discuss your claim with Ms. Furubotten, you will be able to get a better estimate.

Do both biological parents need to give their consent to a stepparent adoption?

In general, yes, both parents need to consent to the adoption. If the noncustodial parent cannot be located or refuses to give their consent, the court may terminate their parental rights through a determination of abandonment. Ultimately, the decision regarding whether to allow the adoption to proceed will rest on the best interests of the children, which is where Furubotten Law excels. Denise will present a compelling, fact-based case that supports your goals.

What documents and paperwork are required to begin the adoption process?

Generally speaking, you will want to take copies of your identifying information, your stepchild’s birth certificate, and any custody orders or parenting plans that may be in place with you to your initial consultation. If you have the contact information and mailing address of your stepchild’s noncustodial parent, that is also important to bring along with you. Denise and her team will be able to proceed from there with the proper notices and petition.

Contact An Experienced Family Law Attorney For Assistance

The team at Furubotten Law has helped many clients successfully adopt their stepchildren to protect their rights and preserve the parental relationship. Schedule a consultation with a California stepparent adoption lawyer you can trust.

If you are looking to adopt a child as a stepparent, don’t hesitate to get the help you need by calling 714-400-2688. You can also reach out online.