Adoption is the process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child’s biological or birth parent. An adoptive parent has the same rights and responsibilities for his or her child as if he or she were a biological parent. Once the adoption is final, the relationship is permanent and will not dissolve even if the parents split up. There are many different types of adoptions. This page deals specifically with stepparent adoption and does not cover agency adoption, independent adoption, or international adoption. Stepparent adoption is slightly easier than other types of adoption because the child will still retain one of his or her birth parents. In order to do a stepparent adoption, the parties must be legally married or registered domestic partners. For more information specific to domestic partnership and same sex marriage adoptions, click here. Contact us today for the adoption attorney Orange County trusts.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the stepparent adoption process work?
First, you will need to file your adoption paperwork with the county where you and the child or children reside. The child’s other parent must be deceased or consent to the adoption unless he or she has abandoned the child and the judge decides it is the child’s best interest to be adopted. Abandonment means that the other parent has not seen or supported the child financially for over one year. If the child to be adopted is age 12 or older, he or she must also provide his or her consent. After filing your adoption petition, you will complete an investigation that includes an interview with a social worker, therapist, or court investigator who will complete a report and file it with the county. Once you have completed the interview and investigation process, you will get a hearing date for your adoption. Your child must also attend the court hearing.
How much will it cost?
In addition to your attorney fees, there is a $20 filing fee plus a fee for the interview and investigation. Fees for the investigation vary by county and can be substantial. In Orange County, the fee is set by the court and can be up to $700.00. Contact us for county-specific fee information.
Do I need an attorney?
Most people will require the assistance of a lawyer if the case is contested. Even if your case is not contested, an experienced adoption attorney can help to ensure your case is completed quickly and efficiently. R & S Law Group offers full service representation for those who need it. In addition, we are available to review court documents or draft paperwork on an hourly fee basis for the self-represented party who just needs a little help. R & S Law Group offers free initial consultations by telephone or in person at the attorney’s discretion.
The information on this page is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice.