Stepparent adoption is one way of demonstrating the affection that has developed within a blended family. However, it’s more than a matter of the heart; an adoption confers rights and responsibilities on the adoptive parent and additional legal protections on the adopted child.
ADDING LEGAL PROTECTIONS TO LOVING RELATIONSHIPS
Stepparent adoptions are often desirable when widows or widowers remarry because the new spouse would have no rights (and the child, presumably, less protection) if anything should happen to the natural parent. In cases of divorce and remarriage, stepparent adoptions can be unnecessary, as when both natural parents are actively and constructively engaged in parenting. A stepparent adoption may be essential for the welfare of the child when a natural parent is unreliable, erratic or dangerous.
The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer assists in all aspects of stepparent adoption throughout Santa Clara and Alameda counties. With more than 30 years of combined family law experience, our attorneys deliver thorough and effective service to ensure a successful completion of the adoption process.
THE PROCESS FOR STEPPARENT ADOPTION IN CALIFORNIA
Stepparent adoption in California has a few simple legal requirements:
The adoptive and legal parent must be legally married or in a registered domestic partnership. (Otherwise, prospective parents may pursue the more difficult “second parent adoption” procedure.)
The adoptive parent must be at least 18 years old and at least ten years older than the child.
The adoptive parent’s spouse or domestic partner must consent to the adoption.
The child’s other legal parent must consent, which means relinquishing his or her parental rights for all time.
If the child is 12 years old or older, the child must also consent.
OVERCOMING THE ABSENT PARENT’S REFUSAL TO CONSENT
California does not permit a child to have more than two parents, so a legal parent can veto a stepparent adoption by refusing to give up his or her parental rights. When that happens, you must challenge the fitness of that parent by presenting evidence of “willful failure” as a parent or “abandonment.” Evidence that the parent has not contacted or supported the child in more than a year is generally necessary. In rare cases, a parent may be only an “alleged father,” in which case you can challenge the man’s paternity to terminate his rights.
STEPPARENT ADOPTION ATTORNEYS IN SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA
If you’re ready to move forward with a stepparent adoption, The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer can give you the information and assistance you need to do it successfully. Contact an experienced attorney who you can trust. Schedule a free consultation If you’re ready to move forward with a stepparent adoption, The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer can give you the information and assistance you need to do it successfully. Contact an experienced attorney who you can trust. Schedule a free consultation today.