Step-Parent Adoption Attorney in Sacramento, California
The most common way to adopt in the United States, stepparent adoption is a formal legal process that allows the spouse of a child’s custodial parent to adopt that child. While it may be a routine and straightforward procedure for the court, any adoption is an emotional event, especially if conflicts arise. If you’re seeking to adopt your spouse’s child, you should feel confident in your ability to move forward from the very beginning, and the best way to do that is to partner with a capable step-parent adoption attorney.
At the Law Office of Richard M. Abdallah, our experienced family law attorney serves Sacramento, California, and the surrounding areas. We will guide you through every phase of the stepchild adoption process with the compassion and individualized attention your family deserves. Get started by contacting our law firm today and scheduling a free consultation.
Step-Parent Adoption: An Overview
Other than solidifying your parental status with your partner’s child, there are many benefits to adopting your stepchild. They include but are by no means limited to:
Guardianship — In the event that your spouse passes away, adoption can legally secure you as the child’s guardian. As a stepparent, you likely have fewer rights than the child’s biological family, even if they are completely out of the picture.
Equality — A stepchild who’s been adopted can receive the same inheritance and other legal rights as any biological children in your family.
Protection — As an adoptive parent, you will have the right to make decisions and give medical consent in cases of emergencies.
The Process of Adopting a Stepchild
Complete the Required Forms
First, it’s imperative to know that California's Department of Social Services typically prefers that the stepparent be married to their spouse for at least a year before filing for adoption. When you’re ready to begin, you must fill out the proper adoption request forms for each child you wish to adopt. You will also need to pay some fees at this stage — a filing fee for each child you want to adopt, and a fee for the routine adoption investigation that will happen later on.
Termination of Rights by Biological/Non-custodial Parent
Consent to give up custody must be given by the child’s other parent. If any disputes are to arise during this whole process, they’ll likely arise here. To give their consent, they will need to fill out the correct forms from the Stepparent Adoption Investigator at Social Services. If the child’s other parent refuses to sign a consent form, you will need to file a petition to terminate their parental rights with the court before your hearing takes place.
The Probate Court Services Department will be notified of your adoption request and begin its investigation process. Once you have obtained all the required documents, an investigator will then be assigned to your case. This is when they will interview you, your partner, and the child/children you’re seeking to adopt. They will also perform a detailed background check and review references provided by three non-related individuals on your behalf. Once all is complete, the investigator will then report their findings to the court and either recommend or advise against the adoption.
You will receive a notice in the mail of when your adoption hearing will take place. The child, your spouse, and you must be present at the hearing.
Receive the Adoption Order & Amended Birth Certificate of Your Adopted Child
While the stepparent adoption process seems straightforward in writing, it’s not immune to conflict. Partner with us, a trusted and knowledgeable family lawyer, and we will advocate on your behalf throughout the entire proceeding. Whether you’re considering adoption or have already started completing the forms, you can rely on us to prepare you for the road ahead. Contact our law firm in Sacramento, California today to get started with a consultation.
Genuine & Skilled Support for Blended Families
As our client, your needs are our top priority, and your mission is our mission. We have been serving Sacramento families since 2012 — so we know what steps to take to put you in favor with your case’s investigator. We will personally advise you during each step of your stepparent adoption journey; we will effectively and aggressively advocate on behalf of you and your stepchild’s best interests if any issues begin to arise.
Step-Parent Adoption Attorney Serving Sacramento, California
For a step-parent adoption lawyer who genuinely cares for their clients and is skilled in negotiation and trial proceedings, reach out to us. Our doors are open to all families in the nearby communities of Northern California, including Placer County, San Joaquin County, El Dorado County, Yolo County, Solano County, and Alameda County. Give our Sacramento law office a call today to get set up with a consultation.