Adoption is a process during which a non-biological parent assumes the parenting of a child. After an adoption becomes legally finalized, the adoptive parents and children have the same rights and obligations as legal or biological parents and children.
Step parent adoptions can be a complicated process. To make it smoother and less stressful, it is best to consult with and hire an experienced Central Valley adoption attorney as soon as possible.
Step Parent Adopt Process
If you are the only biological parent involved in actively caring for and raising your child and you get married again, you may decide to have your new spouse legally adopt your child. To do so, you and your new spouse must go through the step parent adoption process. As an adoptive step parent, your new spouse will recognize the financial, legal and emotional benefits of adopting your biological child.
During the step parent adoption process, you, as the adopting parent’s spouse, will retain parental rights while the parent-child relationship with the other biological parents is severed (California Fam Code § 8548). Once the step parent adoption is finalized, the other biological parent loses all rights and responsibilities, and the adopting parent acquires these rights instead. (California Fam Code § 8617). It should be noted that the adoption is not terminated if you and your spouse (the new adoptive step parent) divorce.
Contested Step Parent Adoption
In cases where step parent adoptions are contested and the other parent refuses to sign away his or her parental rights, you will need to go before a judge. In such cases, your Central Valley adoption attorney will need to seek the judge to involuntarily terminate the parental rights of the uninvolved biological parent. Your attorney needs to prove that the uninvolved biological parent has not been involved in your child’s life, such as not having maintained contact or proper parent relationship or having failed to pay child support.
Since you may not know for sure whether the other biological parent will contest a step parent adoption, it is important to hire an experienced attorney from the beginning to handle the process. It will be more difficult and complicated to involve an attorney mid-process.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Family Law Attorney
If you are planning on adopting a step child or have any other family law issues, it is important that you immediately consult with an experienced family law attorney. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley family law lawyer, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or complete our online form.