Step Parent Adoption in California
A step parent adoption is when you adopt the child of your spouse or registered domestic partner.
You let the child’s birth parent know your intentions by serving an Adoption Request on them. If he or she agrees, they fill out the form and you can file it with the court. This terminates the person’s parental relationship with the child. The person is no longer obligated to pay child support.
If the birth parent does not agree to the step parent adoption, you have an uphill battle to fight. Only in limited circumstances does the court grant an adoption against the will of a birth parent.
If the birth parent abandoned the child over a year ago, has not paid any child support, and has not talked to the child, you may be able to get the court to grant your motion.
If the child is 12 years old or older, he or she will have to consent in court.
If there is no father on the birth certificate and if the mother does not know who the father is, the court will still require you to demonstrate that you’ve made a good faith effort to find and serve the father.
If the child was conceived through artificial insemination from an anonymous donor, you do not have to make an effort to find the father.
If the child’s birth parent has been gone for years, you still have to make an effort to find him or her. You can send a certified, registered letter with return receipt requested to the last known address of the person. You can contact friends and family members who might know where the person is. You can check the telephone directory and do an internet search for the person.
Also, you can contact the Department of Child Support Services. The DCSS has tremendous resources to track people down.
You can contact the DMV, the county recorder’s office, and the voter registration records. You may even have to hire a private detective. Make sure that you document every effort that you make.
The court must be convinced that you have made every effort to contact the other parent before they will grant a step parent adoption in abstencia.
That’s because, if the other parent shows up after the step parent adoption has taken place and says they were never served, they can try to have the adoption canceled.
It’s smart to consult an attorney about a step parent adoption. You can email me with any questions you have by filling out the form below.
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